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


Funeral Notice

Yourself and family are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of Mrs. Ellen G. White on the lawn at her residence, “Elmshaven,” near the Sanitarium, St. Helena, California, Sunday afternoon, at five o'clock, July eighteenth, nineteen hundred fifteen.—DF 756. 6BIO 432.3

Word also was sent out that she would lie in state in her home on Sabbath and Sunday. Friends who called before Sunday noon were ushered to her writing room on the second floor, where they found her in a simple cloth-covered black coffin bearing a modest silver plate with the engraved words “At rest.” If they called Sunday afternoon, as most did, they paid their respects to her in the living room, where so often she had received her family and visitors. 6BIO 432.4

Seating for about 300 people was provided on the lawn under the elm trees just in front of her house. Another hundred sat on the lawn or in nearby parked automobiles. The Sanitarium, the St. Helena church, and the college were largely represented. A few of the leading businessmen of St. Helena were present, and many friends came in from Napa, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Healdsburg. A canopy was provided for the officiating ministers. 6BIO 433.1

The service was simple, informal, and ideal for the setting. Those participating were mostly ministers who had been long associated with Ellen White in the work of the church in America and overseas: J. N. Loughborough, George B. Starr, and E. W. Farnsworth. The pastor of the church of which she was a member, S. T. Hare, pronounced the benediction. 6BIO 433.2

Elder Loughborough in his informal life sketch recounted his first acquaintance with Ellen White in 1852 and of his seeing her in vision within a few minutes of meeting her. He recounted other experiences down through the years. G. B. Starr made appropriate remarks. Elder E. W. Farnsworth, president of the California Conference, preached the funeral sermon on the Christian's hope. He also set before the audience the plans for other funeral services: 6BIO 433.3

After the service is over, the undertaker will take the remains to St. Helena tonight. Tomorrow morning on the early train Brother White and Sister McEnterfer, and perhaps others, will accompany the remains to Richmond, where we are holding a large camp meeting. The brethren and sisters there greatly desire the privilege to express their love and appreciation for Sister White, so they have requested that a service be held on the campground at Richmond. 6BIO 433.4

That appealed to us as rather fitting, considering how much of Sister White's life and labors have been spent in that environment.... 6BIO 433.5

And then tomorrow evening Brother White and Sister McEnterfer will take the train for Battle Creek, Michigan. It was Sister White's request that she might be buried by the side of her husband who sleeps in Oak Hill Cemetery there; also her oldest son, Henry, who sleeps there, and the little baby; and Elder James White's father and mother lie resting there. Sister White felt that she would like to be laid to rest in the family plot in that cemetery. So next Sabbath day, July 24, they will have a service at the Tabernacle in Battle Creek, and from there the burial will take place.—DF 757, E. W. Farnsworth funeral sermon, July 18, 1915. 6BIO 434.1

W. C. White, reporting on the Elmshaven funeral, told of how at the close of the service none seemed in a hurry to go; many wished that it had continued longer because they were so interested in the words of the speaker, remarking on the chief thought presented by Elder Farnsworth that the Christian's hope had taken away the sting of death (WCW to David Lacey, July 20, 1915). White continued as he wrote to his wife's father: 6BIO 434.2

At Richmond, a northern suburb of Oakland, the California Conference was holding its annual camp meeting. Here were assembled many of Mother's old associates of the Oakland church, and many representatives of the churches that she had so often visited in her earlier California labors. 6BIO 434.3

When they heard of Mother's death, they requested that her body he brought to the camp meeting, and that there be a service there. They said, “If Sister White were alive and well, she would be right here at this meeting, telling us how to live the Christian life. Why not let her be brought here and someone tell us how she lived it?” 6BIO 434.4

About a thousand people were present for the Monday-morning funeral service at the campground. Elder E. E. Andross, president of the Pacific Union Conference, was in charge of the service and was assisted by Elders A. O. Tait, Signs editor, and Elders Loughborough and Farnsworth. At three o'clock, W. C. White and Sara McEnterfer boarded the train, expecting to reach Battle Creek by Thursday evening. 6BIO 434.5