Manuscript Releases, vol. 11 [Nos. 851-920]

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MR No. 868—Western Transportation in the Times of Ellen White

Cheyenne, Wyoming, August 21, 1878—We are now in the hotel waiting the overland train from California. It is rather warm. We have had no sleep of any account yet. I left one package of “Sunshine Series” for that gentleman who attended to the sprained ankle. The package of hominy is in father's room on the shelf. We feel that we will get through all right. I feel that I am in the way of my duty, although I am very tired, and long for rest. The train comes to take us at half-past three. I hope you will all go over to the park and have a pleasant camping trip. You may never have as good a time again to make this trip.—Letter 45, 1878, p. 1. (Post card to Ellen White's family, who were vacationing at Rollinsville, Colorado.) 11MR 56.1

Council Bluffs, Iowa, August 22, 1878—We have made the change all right. Glad you were not on board today; hot, almost unendurable. We have a lower berth in drawing-room car. Well situated. Three dollars to Chicago. Cheap enough, I think. I am glad that so many of you are in the cool mountains. Stay there as long as you can. I think Emma would be rather oppressed with her woolen dress. I am glad she is not on board this train. The heat would wilt and exhaust her. At one time today it seemed as though I should faint away, but a cool breeze sprang up and we feel better. I think I am in the way of duty. It is fearfully oppressive, yet God will sustain.—Letter 45, 1878, pp. 1, 2. (Post card to James White.) 11MR 56.2

Chicago (?), October 23, 1878—We left Battle Creek Wednesday, October 23. Found Brother Armstrong waiting for us. Took a streetcar after walking a quarter of a mile with our baggage. We rode about five miles to the home of Brother Armstrong. We found a cheerful fire in the sitting room. This was our sleeping room. After social conversation we had a season of prayer and retired feeling we were blessed indeed.—Manuscript 5, 1878, 1. (Diary entry.) 11MR 57.1

Chicago, October 24, 1878—Thursday morning. Rested well through the night. Awakened with feelings of gratitude for the favors received and the blessings of God with which He has abundantly supplied us. My heart goes out to God in prayer for His guidance and His grace. 11MR 57.2

We met Elder Butler and Elder Andrews’ mother in the Chicago depot. Elder Butler was on his way to Battle Creek. He assisted us in re-checking baggage and in moving baggage to sleeping car. Brother Armstrong's daughter was very attentive, accompanying us to depot and interesting herself in our being properly arranged in the car.—Manuscript 5, 1878, 1. (Diary entry.) 11MR 57.3

Between Chicago and Richland, Kansas, October 25, 1878—On the cars. Rested well last night. We had our window open and gave our lungs food. The cars were very hot, and no ventilation was allowed from the ventilator above. This morning there is a great complaint of faintness and languor when no effort is made to give us fresh air. There are thirty who have passed the night in a closed car. Emanations from the bodies and exhalations from the lungs have poisoned the air, yet no windows except mine have been raised to let in the rich blessing heaven has provided in fresh, pure air. Must the health and life of travelers be imperiled by being left to the control of ignorant porters and one or two sick passengers? We will have air from outside. We will not endanger health and life because of the ignorance of porters. 11MR 57.4

We changed cars at Kansas City. The porter put us in the wrong car and we were obliged to pay six dollars for our passage over the road. When we arrived at Topeka we met Brother Miller, a stranger to us, but he had a printed notice pinned upon his coat—“Camp Meeting.” We made ourselves acquainted and were soon preparing to step on board his carriage. In my great weariness and hurry I left my velvet sacque. The depot was crowded and I overlooked it. I did not discover my loss until we had gone about five miles. At first I was much troubled but I fought with my feelings until I had them under control and the conflict was ended and peace took the place of regret and unhappiness. 11MR 58.1

We rode twelve miles over the broad prairie. It was keen cold. We became thoroughly chilled, for we had not even a laprobe or buffalo robe to cover our feet and limbs. When we arrived on the ground [at Richland, Kansas] we found a small board tent made for us, furnished with bed, table, and stove, and having floor with carpet on it. We were made very comfortable. We felt thankful in our hearts to our dear friends for this thoughtful care and tenderness of us. A crock was brought with a very fine chrysanthemum in full bloom. We rested and slept well that night.—Manuscript 5, 1878, 1, 2. (Diary entry.) 11MR 58.2

Crossing the Red River, Texas, April 30, 1879—We left Denison April 25. Encamped two miles out of Denison, waiting for the ferry to be in a condition to cross. We remained until April 30 in a waiting position, for the sick to be able to travel and the ferry so that we could cross. We then started on our way with eight covered wagons and one covered spring wagon with two seats. Thirty composed our party. 11MR 58.3

About noon we crossed the ferry with special instructions to drive quickly as soon as off the boat because of danger through quicksands. We were all safely landed on the other side of Red River except Will Cornell, who did not come up in time. Moore and Farnsworth teams waited for them while our hack and three wagons went into camp some five miles on upon the open prairie. 11MR 59.1

We had a severe tempest strike us soon after our tent was pitched. My husband was trying to hold on the tent. It was a most serious downpour, and the tent not trenched. I think we will learn something on this journey—to trench the tent as soon as it is staked.—Manuscript 4, 1879, 1. (Diary entry.) 11MR 59.2

In Oklahoma (Indian) Territory, Thursday, May 1, 1879—At noon we camped in a woods. It was not very pleasant. At night we did not reach any good camping ground and were obliged to stop by the bank of a river in a low spot of ground. 11MR 59.3

It seemed very lonesome journeying in the thick forest. We thought what might be if robbers or horse thieves—Indians or white men—should molest us, but we had a vigilant watch guarding the animals. We found ourselves in a better condition than we feared.—Manuscript 4, 1879, 1, 2. (Diary entry.) 11MR 59.4

Friday, May 2, 1879—After taking breakfast we were all hustling and hurrying, picking up, ready for another move. We crossed Blue Creek all safely. 11MR 59.5

Friday night we camped near Johnson's ranch. Here are found plenty of grass for horses, and at the farmhouse, good milk, butter, and eggs. We were having our first experience of overland journeying in transporting our sick and those too poor to pay car expenses, but the Lord cared for us.—Manuscript 4, 1879, 2. (Diary entry.) 11MR 59.6

In Eastern Kansas, May 19, 1879—We had some trouble last night finding a camping ground. We had to accept a poor spot, at least one mile from Humboldt. Our tent was no sooner arranged, staked, and thoroughly ditched—as I determined it should be—than the storm struck us. It was a marked display of the power of God. The sun was shining in a portion of the sky and it was amber in the west. The other portions of the sky were black and threatening. The rain was pouring in torrents. Our tent proved a most welcome shelter. 11MR 60.1

We attempted to find a place in a hotel in Humboldt where we could be free from tempest and storm. We were shown our room—a small, very small, room with two beds in it. The air was close and stifling. We decided to take our chance in the tent and endure the storm rather than the close, stifling air of a small, ill-ventilated room. We returned through the storm to our tent. The wind blew fearfully. We feared the tent would not stand the tempest. As we rode through the town the air seemed to enclose us. It was hot, even while it was thundering, lightning was flashing, and rain at times pouring down. Our carriage had to be made a bedroom for some of our party, but there was no complaint. Last night our party of women washed their clothes in the trenches we had made. 11MR 60.2

It is a beautiful morning. The sun is shining and all in camp are astir for breakfast, while some are packing the wagons for another move. 11MR 60.3

We are on the way again, slowly making our way over the broad prairies of Kansas. At nine o'clock we turned out to let the horses feed on grass. At noon we all drew up upon the broad prairie to take our dinner, within six miles of Neosho. Teams are now being prepared for another move, while Mary and I, Adelia and Etta, are gathering up, washing the dishes, and putting the food in baskets. The order comes, “Move on.” In one hour and a half we shall be at Brother Glover's. 11MR 60.4

When within two miles of Brother Glover's, we sent forward Elder Corliss to learn the situation and inform Brother Glover of our coming. He returned with the information that many had not received the news of the change of appointment and had come on the ground. The meeting was in session and Brethren Glover and Ayers had moved on, journeying to the camp meeting. We decided to take the train for Emporia. We had three quarters of an hour to make the change. We took our two trunks, and without opportunity to change our apparel, we slept on board the train. 11MR 61.1

We arrived at Emporia about seven o'clock. We engaged an omnibus to take us to the campground, about two miles. Four powerful horses were put before the bus and we were carried speedily to camp. All seemed glad to meet us. We pitched our tent and one and another brought us a piece of bedding, so we had a passably comfortable bed.—Manuscript 4, 1879, pp. 4, 5. (Diary entry.) 11MR 61.2

Swan Lake, Dakota Territory, July 17, 1879—It seemed to be duty to attend the first camp meeting held in Dakota. The conference has been organized and we hope good as been accomplished. Last Tuesday we rode in a hired carriage twenty-one miles to meet the cars at Beloit, Iowa. When we learned that there had been a bad slide and we could not take the cars before one or two days—and it may be a week before we can go on our way to Colorado—we hired a man to take his team and bring us twenty-eight miles to Sister Anner's, where we are at the present time.—Letter 32, 1879, p. 1. (To Brother and Sister A. G. Daniells [Arthur Daniells was, at this time, a 21-year-old minister in Texas. Elder and Mrs. White spent the winter of 1878-79 in Texas with A. G. Daniells and his wife].) 11MR 61.3

Near Cheyenne, Wyoming, February 26, 1880—Rested a portion of the night. Coal gas from the coal stove came into the car, affecting my lungs and heart. Have written two pages foolscap to send back to Battle Creek for Volume IV. Sent four pages to Mary Clough. We are having a hailstorm. It is now two. We entered Cheyenne quarter past one. 11MR 62.1

Passed Cheyenne about three o'clock. It is snowing and hailing. I feel like breathing out my heart's desire for the protecting care of God on this journey. When I think that this is the fifteenth time we have passed over this road without accident or harm, I feel grateful to God and trust Him still. He will be our guide and guard on this journey. My heart is grateful, very grateful, for the assurance I have of the presence of God. I love Him; I trust Him; I will praise Him.—Manuscript 7, 1880, 1. (Diary entry.) 11MR 62.2

Arriving in California, Sunday, February 29, 1880—We had a beautiful sunrise. The sky was broadly striped with crimson, gold, and silver. What a picture of loveliness painted for us by the great Master Artist! Instinctively my heart was filled with gratitude to God. His wondrous love to fallen man, in giving His Son to shame, reproach, insult, mocking, and an ignominious death, seemed so deep, so rich, so broad, my heart throbbed with glad joy that I was privileged to be a child of God. In the night I found dear Mary resting upon her elbow viewing in the bright moonbeams the scenery of nature. We passed Cape Horn in the night. Wild, grandly wild, was the scene. Arrived at Oakland about eleven o'clock. We were received heartily by our friends.—Manuscript 7, 1880, 2. (Diary entry.) 11MR 62.3

Oakland, California, March 17, 1880—The trains have been delayed sometimes nine hours and other days twelve hours in consequence of snows. It has been unusually cold here this month and some days we hear all talking of the disagreeable northers as in Texas.—Letter 13, 1880, p. 2. (To James White.) 11MR 63.1

Woodland, California, March 29, 1880—We have had a very pleasant season of labor here. We took a train two hours too early and had to wait at Davisville in a cold, disagreeable depot two hours. As there was no fire in the depot, I much desired to sit in the sun. 11MR 63.2

Elder Haskell tried to borrow a chair for me from the office connected with depot, but officials were not gentlemanly or courteous and refused me a chair although they were not occupying one, at least. I explained the matter in my mind as I saw these men continually smoking in this little office. They were enveloped in a cloud of smoke. Tobacco using benumbs the fine sensibilities and debases and degrades the user, we have marked, in very many cases.—Letter 17, 1880, p. 1. (To W. C. and Mary White.) 11MR 63.3

At the Camp Ground Between Hanford and Lemoore, California, April 23, 1880—Willie, Mary, Barbara Stickney and I left Oakland yesterday at four o'clock p.m. for Fresno. We arrived here this morning at 4:00 a.m. We feel not so bright this morning. We could not obtain berths on sleeper and had to change cars at 2:00 a.m. at Goshen. We had a pile of baggage, bedding, mattresses, satchels filled with books and baskets of provision. We shall return much lighter loaded. At Goshen we were directed to wrong cars and after getting well loaded were obliged to unload and change to cars on opposite track. We slept some in cars but my hip troubles me so that I cramped and could not sleep much. 11MR 63.4

We stopped at the ground. Brethren Haskell and Israel met us at the cars and took us to our tents. We had Elder Loughborough's tent, now the property of General Conference. It was furnished with floor, a strip of carpet, bedstead, stand, rocking chair, wash dish and good little stove. Barbara and I sleep in this tent. There is still another little tent for Will and Mary with bed in it; no wood floor nor stove. Very neat and comfortable. 11MR 64.1

There are forty tents upon the ground—a restaurant which is the best conducted of any I have seen at any of our camp meetings.—Letter 25, 1880, p. 1. (To James White.) 11MR 64.2

I am not sure when this may reach you, as the road has been blockaded by terrible snowstorms and avalanches have demolished freight trains. When we took the cars for this route there were fifty stout men waiting to take cars for the blockaded roads for the purpose of shoveling snow. It took six engines to drag the cars even a short distance. There had been no mails for two days, and they said it would take more than two days to remove the obstructions so that they could get through with mails. 11MR 64.3

Telegraph wires are down and general calamity seems to be on California. Levees are giving way and Sacramento is flooded. There is great damage done by these last rains. It has rained nearly all the time for three weeks. Most of the time it has poured. It is about the first rain they have had in this country.—Letter 26, 1880, p. 1. (To James White.) 11MR 64.4

Oakland, California, July 23, 1880—I have been waiting to know what to write definitely in regard to my plans. I have received three letters from Bro. Burrel and I wrote him that I could not attend any of the camp meetings east. The expense of crossing the plains would be no less than three hundred dollars if I returned for camp meetings here. A dispatch came yesterday with Burrel's and Farget's name signed urging me in no case to disappoint them—my expense should be met. I may come alone. Shall leave here Monday or Wednesday. Why these particular times? So as not to be under the necessity of changing cars on the Sabbath.—Letter 35, 1880, p. 1. (To James White.) 11MR 65.1

Humboldt, Wyoming County, Nevada, Wednesday, July 28, 1880—Dear Children: It is not yet two days since we left you and it seems one week. We have had a pleasant and comfortable time thus far. The train stopped six hours at Rockwell. We went out in search of our people. We were made welcome at Sister Prosser's. Her husband is not a believer but he gave us a hearty welcome. We took dinner with them. Was sorry I was not in a better visiting order, for I was so worn visiting was a tax. We prayed with them about two o'clock and then went to the train only a few rods from their house. We have not yet put up our bed. We, Sister Hall and myself, lie down and sleep much of the time. The more I sleep the more I want to sleep. I am not worth much. 11MR 65.2

Our car has been filling up until it is filled. Every seat is full and men lie and roost upon the upper berth, spread their lunch and make that their home. Upper berths mostly are taken. We retain ours as yet, but may have to give it up any time. As long as we can retain this, we will be as comfortable as on the palace car. We have slept a good share of the forenoon. While I write it is a little past two o'clock. 11MR 65.3

We have just passed Humboldt, not yet half way to Ogden, 385 miles to Ogden. We have come 335 miles. Our changes will be made Friday morning at eight o'clock. This relieves my mind. I shall be anxious to hear how Willie is. I hope he is improving. My head aches all the time. I can scarcely hold my eyes open. I feel grateful for the comfortable time we are having. 11MR 66.1

All the passengers are first class. No regular emigrants. We were pleased to find the rolls, but sorry that any of the oranges were left, for they will be the most expensive for us to buy.... 11MR 66.2

I found my credentials. Elder Haskell's name was on the envelope so I did not recognize it. 11MR 66.3

We just draw shawls about our berth and eat and sleep in our own room and no one to gaze upon us. We have a pleasant breeze today. Nothing today in scenery but alkali and sage brush. We have scarcely a bit of dirt. Conductors say that the emigrant cars are made so comfortable the first-class passengers are but few, but now all are crowded, first class, palace, and emigrant. 11MR 66.4

My heart says, God bless my dear children. Be of good courage. Jesus is the Captain of our salvation.—Letter 37, 1880, pp. 1, 2. (To W. C. and Mary White.) 11MR 66.5

Nearing Cheyenne, Wyoming, August 1, 1880—Dear Children Willie and Mary: We are nearing Cheyenne. We have had not one moment's regret coming this route on emigrant ticket. I have had nervous headache nearly all the way since leaving Oakland. We have had a full car all the way. Every seat was full and upper berths taken and was rather of a comical sight to see men sitting on edge of upper berths with feet dangling over the heads of ladies in under berth, eating their lunch and some playing cards. 11MR 66.6

We had no reason to complain as we had both lower and upper berths to ourselves. Sister Hall and I have had the very best chance to rest. We kept our bed made up for use nearly all the time, curtains about it, making a bedroom for ourselves. 11MR 67.1

Friday at 9:00 a.m. we changed cars at Ogden without much difficulty. Sister Hall made for the car, secured seats. I handed smaller parcels in at the window. A lady kindly put through the car window all our large bundles and a gentleman volunteered to put them in the car. So we are again moved, but there was some disagreeable contention about position in the cars, but after a time our camp was settled and angry contention at an end. 11MR 67.2

The two ladies sitting opposite us, rather prepossessing in appearance, were not very dignified in their deportment. They condescended to the most boisterous laughter and joking away into the night, until I suggested we remember what time of night it was. But they kept on the same screaming and laughing with forward men and a base conductor, until I was thoroughly indignant. These women professed to be _____. One was a mother of young men. She was as old as myself. Her hair was nearly white and yet she was jesting and joking with young men of questionable morals. I finally spoke out and told them we had had quite enough of this extravagant mirth and constant joking and thoughtless talk and laughter and that more thinking and praying would be far better. They quit then and let us have a little peace. 11MR 67.3

Sabbath we shut ourselves up to ourselves and as I was sick, we lay in our berth all day nearly. It was very hot. We had, we found to our sorrow, the sunny side of the car. Last night till ten o'clock the same gassing and boisterous laughter was kept up. I spoke again, “Friends, please let us have quiet and rest. Last night we were kept awake for many hours. We need our rest. This is our right.” Everything hushed down after a while and we had a peaceful rest. 11MR 67.4

We feel better today. It is a most beautiful morning. We shall be in Cheyenne tonight at five o'clock. We shall not reach Omaha until Monday night or Tuesday morning and will have to wait over twelve hours there, be attached to express train for Chicago. We have very scrimped time. Shall shift off if we see we shall be too late for appointment at Alma. We can but just make it at the best. We feel the need of that Sunday we spent in Oakland ever so much. We shall want to hear from you all. I have not written anything. I dread even the exertion of writing letters. We want to hear from you as soon as possible, for I worry about Willie.—Letter 38, 1880, pp. 1, 2. (To W. C. and Mary White.) 11MR 68.1

Near Laramie, Wyoming, August 15, 1883—Dear Children: We have had another good night's rest. We are near Laramie. The journey thus far has been the most pleasant of any we have had in crossing the plains. In the last car the seat opposite us was occupied by only one man. We used it a good share of the time. Yesterday we changed at Ogden and there was no one in the opposite section. We had the entire command of our own section and the one opposite us, so we have not been crowded at all. We have an excellent sleeping-car conductor and on both trains good accommodating porters. 11MR 68.2

The weather has been rather hot in midday, but it might be worse. We feel deeply grateful for the protection we are assured we have from God. I feel cheerful and happy. I have a good time to think and to pray. I am stronger than when I left Oakland. I feel the need of special help from God, for I know we are indeed exposed to Satan's temptations and to his malice. We need the guardianship of angels day by day, hour by hour. 11MR 68.3

We need your prayers daily that the Lord would prepare me to do His work and give me largely of His Spirit, for without this grace and His special assistance I cannot do anything, Oh, I long, I thirst for salvation, for special help from God, to know for myself that my life is hid with Christ in God. I do know that there is nothing on earth I desire beside Him. He is the crown of my rejoicing. Separated from Jesus I should be indeed miserable. 11MR 69.1

I am seated next to that large man, a Frenchman, who was in the depot when we entered it. He is a theater manager. He has a little woman with short cut hair—an actress. We have become quite well acquainted.... 11MR 69.2

This party are very kind and courteous, but the raid they make upon bottles of champagne and wines is to me a marvel. The lady takes her glass with as much ease as the gentleman. I have been courteously invited to join them, but frankly told them I never in my life tasted the article and had no need for anything of the kind. They opened their eyes with astonishment. 11MR 69.3

I see every gentleman on the train has his liquor flask and the eyes of some testify that they drink brandy and considerable of it; but I find the lemon you kindly provided for us fully meets all my wants as far as drinking is concerned. I treat the different parties with my precious fruit and they try hard to make some exchange but fail. I have all of the kind of food that I would at all accept from them. They feel disturbed to think they are in my debt. 11MR 69.4

There is a family from India on their way to England, soldiers. They complain of the heat here—worse, they say, than in India. They were in the healthful part of the country. They have a nurse for the little boy. She is a native, curiously dressed and curious in appearance. Her hands are tattooed completely. She wears a pink calico dress nearly straight as a bag, with a short sacque of the same, then a pink figured calico mantle which crosses before, fastened behind. She ... is really a good nurse. 11MR 69.5

Yesterday while the cars stopped at a small station a young man came into the cars. Said he had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours. Sara gave him provision to supply present wants. He was about eighteen years old. Said he had no money to buy anything to eat. 11MR 70.1

We have just finished breakfast. It is now five minutes past eight o'clock. We are about ten miles from Laramie. We shall not be able to make way with our provisions. Sara bought a bottle of milk and some warm water this morning. I put ginger in it and it went well.—Letter 22, 1883, pp. 1-3. (To W. C. and Mary White.) 11MR 70.2

East Portland, Oregon, June 27, 1884—Sunday I had great freedom in speaking upon temperance. The power of the subject was never seen and felt by me as upon this occasion. The people from the city listened attentively. Several unbelievers who have used tobacco since their youth have left it off and say they will not touch it more. 11MR 70.3

We left the ground, ten o'clock p.m., stepped on board the train and were on our way for East Portland. Tuesday morning the cars stopped at Multnomah Falls for twenty minutes, that all the passengers who chose might ascend to have a clear view. I undertook to go and I would not go back. It was very steep. There were steps made, then quite a distance zigzag, then more steps. This was repeated many times until we stood upon a bridge made to bridge a chasm above the first fall. This is the Bridal Veil. 11MR 70.4

The water pours from the top to a mountain about 900 feet high and as the water descends, it breaks upon the jutting rocks, scattering off in beautiful spray. Here was the most beautiful sight to look upon. I would have enjoyed it could I have spent an entire day viewing this scene, but we were grateful for the few moments, although it cost laborious climbing.... 11MR 70.5

Eight hundred feet above us the water rolled from the mountaintops, dashing upon the cliffs and rocks, throwing the water like a veil on every side. Below us this water accumulating from the flow above dashed in a larger fall over the rocks. This was the work of the great Master Artist, and we could but exclaim, How wonderful are Thy works, Lord God Almighty. We feel subdued and awed in the presence of such manifestations of the great God.—Letter 20, 1884, pp. 3, 4. (To Uriah Smith.) 11MR 71.1

White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

July 15, 1981.