Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6)


Chapter 30—1914—Ellen White's Eighty-seventh Year

As Ellen White on New Year's morning stepped over to the bay window in her writing room, she could see almost a sea of turbulent water inundating the little orchard between her home and Blackmon's Canyon Creek, over against Glass Mountain (so named for its exposed obsidian deposits). The “big storm” with its downpour of rain brought a partial paralysis over the little valley. Iram James, her farmer, reported that a fallen tree over the creek a bit upstream had diverted the flow across the pasture, cutting a deep ditch that called for immediate repair (WCW to CCC, January 8, 1914). 6BIO 402.1

The opening of the new year, the last full calendar year of Ellen White's life, was marked with an added convenience for Elmshaven—electricity. Just the year before, a beginning had been made in the use of steam in heating, and during the year her grandsons had secured their automobile. Now the long-awaited convenience, electricity, had reached the Pratt Valley. 6BIO 402.2

Early in her long life, Ellen White had used candles and whale-oil lamps to write by and to move about at night. A decade after her marriage came kerosene lamps and lanterns, and she would carry the kerosene lamp in the early hours of the morning as she entered her writing room at Elmshaven to begin her day's work. Advantage had been taken of the development of efficient oil lamps, and several of the much-used rooms boasted of “angle lamps.” Two-or three-wick burners, with their glass shades projecting from a nickel-plated central oil reservoir, hung from the ceiling, gave a much-appreciated combined light. 6BIO 402.3

Now, as Ellen White and members of the family moved from room to room, just a turn of the switch unleashed a glow of light filling the whole room. How wonderful it was! The workers in the office were very appreciative, as their tasks often called for evening work. 6BIO 403.1

There was another occasion for special happiness in the office family. During the holiday season Clarence Crisler and Minnie Hawkins were united in marriage and now would work more closely than ever as they labored to get the Spirit of Prophecy messages into the field for the benefit of the whole church. They were honeymooning in southern California when the storm and flood hit and did not seem to object to the extra week that was theirs because of adverse travel conditions in the Napa Valley. 6BIO 403.2

Steady but sometimes seemingly slow progress was made in literary tasks—Old Testament history, Gospel Workers, and the incessant demand for E. G. White articles for the Review and Signs of the Times. W. C. was much away from home during the year, and while it slowed the work in the office and left considerable loneliness, it had its benefits in the frequent reports to him from his wife, May, and C. C. Crisler—reports of considerable significance to us who are interested in Ellen White's state of both physical and mental health through her eighty-seventh year. To keep White posted, Crisler wrote to him every day or two, often from notes he had taken during his visits. It is mainly on these letters that this chapter is based, the running account often being in Crisler's words, even though not always credited. 6BIO 403.3

On March 18 the prune orchards were budding once again. Ellen White was in good health and good spirits and when the weather was favorable was still taking her regular daily carriage rides on the familiar roads and in the cherished lanes about Elmshaven. The next day Crisler reported to W. C. White of his conversations with Ellen White and of her outlook. As it was that day so it pervaded the last months of her life. Here is his statement: 6BIO 403.4

Last night Sister White assured me that her faith in God and her confidence in the Advent Movement have been greatly strengthened of late by the excellent reports of success attending the labors of our ministers and workers. She declares that she has never doubted the providential leadership of God in connection with our denominational history, but that her confidence does grow stronger as the evidences of divine leadership multiply.—CCC to WCW, March 19, 1914. 6BIO 403.5

On April 1, Crisler wrote of Elmshaven as spring came: 6BIO 404.1

Your mother has been able to read considerable since her eye was bad, and today she was able to have a good ride, the first in four days, one day being Sabbath, and the other days stormy. We have had an excellent rain—just what we have been needing. Now the gardens, the orchards, and the farm crops will have a good chance.—CCC to WCW, April 1, 1914.