Ellen G. White — Messenger to the Remnant


The Home in Later Years

After the death of Elder James White in 1881, Mrs. White continued to maintain her own home. By this time the children had established themselves, and her family consisted largely of her literary assistants, domestic help, and worthy young people she was assisting in school, and at times individuals—either workers or lay members—who were in need of care. More of the responsibilities of the operation of the home were now thrown upon the housekeeper, and Mrs. White filled the position of gracious hostess. After a busy day of writing the family worship service was often supplemented by Ellen White’s recounting the experiences of the early days of the work. EGWMR 105.1

In Australia the White home at Sunnyside, Cooranbong, was a busy place with the family numbering from ten to sixteen. (Counsels on Diet and Foods, 488.) The house, augmented with tents, served both as residence and office. One of the first buildings on the new school property, it was often the stopping place for visiting workers or those who were joining the school staff. Those were pioneer days, and the strictest economy was enforced of necessity, yet the table presented wholesome satisfying food. “Grains, vegetables, and fresh and canned fruit constituted our table fare,” she wrote in 1896. (Counsels on Diet and Foods, 489.) There was plenty of land, and Mrs. White planned the orchard and garden. Determined to make her “wilderness home blossom as the rose” (Letter 59, 1896), she set apart ample space for flowers. She wished her home to be made beautiful by the things of nature created by God. She purposed to make her orchard and gardens “an object lesson to those who would rather beg than work.” (Letter 128, 1899.) EGWMR 105.2

The White home echoed with the clicking of typewriters busily engaged in copying letters and articles and book manuscripts. But on one Tuesday morning all this was silenced as the large dining room became the setting for a wedding. It was a pleasant, yet solemn, sacred service, in which Mrs. White took part by offering the prayer. She records that there “was no light jest or foolish sayings.” (Manuscript 23, 1894.) EGWMR 105.3

At times adjustments had to be made in the rooming facilities to make a place for someone who needed treatment and good food, but could not afford care at an institution. One such person was a guest in 1898, “although we have to crowd up our family to do this,” Mrs. White wrote. It is further stated that “she is treated as a member of my family without cost to herself of a penny. I thought Jesus would do just this.” (Letter 68, 1898.) EGWMR 105.4