Ellen G. White — Messenger to the Remnant


Brochure V — Ellen G. White—The Human-Interest Story

Chapter 1—As Others Knew Her

According to line 21 of the General Conference Biographical Information Blank, Ellen Gould White was 5 feet 2 inches tall, and weighed 140 pounds in 1909, with “complexion rather dark,” “eyes gray,” “hair gray.” Had the blank been filled out some years earlier, it would have noted her hair as brown, but she was now eighty-one years of age. Twenty-six other spaces on this blank yield such information as “Date and place of birth Gorham, Maine, November 26, 1827.” “Date of conversion—probably in March, 1840.” She was married to Elder James White on August 30, 1846; and he died August 6, 1881. There were four boys born to the Whites, the oldest and youngest were deceased. Mrs. White traveled extensively, and wrote many books, which were translated into many languages. EGWMR 99.1

This interesting blank renders much valuable information regarding Ellen White as a Seventh-day Adventist worker, but it does not acquaint us with her as an individual. It does not speak of her disposition, nor does it tell us how she related herself to others, or how she bore her burdens. It does not speak of her joys and sorrows, her struggles with discouragement, the battle with appetite, her love of home, her interest in flowers and animals. It does not tell of the hours she stood by the sickbed of a neighbor’s child, or of the cooking, the mending, and the shopping. It says nothing about Mrs. White as a speaker, of the burden of writing, and of the endless hours spent in seeing those who sought her counsel. These would not appear in a formal blank. But these are the experiences and characteristics by which we really become acquainted with Sister White. Fortunate it is that from her voluminous records, housed in the Ellen G. White Publications vault at the office of the General Conference, we can reconstruct sketches of these human-interest features of her life and experience. EGWMR 99.2

If we were to visit the White home in the early days—and we will fix the year as 1859, for we have Mrs. White’s diary for that year—we would find ourselves in a little frame cottage only a few blocks from the Review and Herald office in Battle Creek, Michigan. Mrs. White is a woman of thirty-one, and her husband is thirty-seven. There are three boys—Willie, Edson, and Henry—their ages four, nine, and twelve. We observe that Mrs. White is a thoughtful mother, a careful housewife, a genial hostess, and a helpful neighbor. She is a woman of conviction, but gentle in manner and voice. She is interested in the everyday happenings and the local news. She can enjoy a good laugh. There is no place in her experience for a long-faced religion. One feels at perfect ease in her presence. She is friendly, but not snoopy or prying. EGWMR 99.3

It is early in January, and Mrs. White is busy writing, sewing, and preparing for a three-week journey which will take her to a number of the churches in northern Michigan. She will go in advance of her husband who plans to join her soon. We find her assisted in the home by Jenny, a sterling young woman who keeps things running smoothly while the Whites are away on their trips. Our first visit is in midwinter, and there is snow on the ground. We notice that the home is on the edge of town, with garden and barn at the rear. We shall be interested to see the out-of-door activities later in the spring. EGWMR 99.4