Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)


Lost on the Way to Vergennes

From Jackson, the workers moved on to Battle Creek, nearby Bedford, and Vergennes. The trip to Vergennes was memorable, one that Ellen White later recalled in an article in the Signs of the Times: 1BIO 278.2

I well remember the long journey we took ... in Michigan. We were on our way to hold a meeting in Vergennes. We were fifteen miles from our destination. Our driver had passed over the road repeatedly and was well acquainted with it, but was compelled to acknowledge that he had lost the way. We traveled forty miles that day, through the woods, over logs and fallen trees, where there was scarcely a trace of a road. 1BIO 278.3

I was feeble, and fainted twice on the way. We had no food. The brother who drove the team tried to find some water; but there was none fit for use. He made efforts to obtain a little milk from the cows we met on the road; but they were too wild to be approached by a stranger. 1BIO 278.4

As I was fainting with thirst, I thought of travelers perishing in the desert. Cool streams of water seemed to lie directly before me; but as we passed on they proved to be only an illusion. A goblet of water seemed just within my grasp. I eagerly reached out my hand to take it, but it was gone. My husband prayed for me that I might be sustained on that dreary journey. We could not understand why we should be left to this singular wandering in the wilderness.—The Signs of the Times, October 19, 1876. 1BIO 278.5

Finally they broke through into a little clearing and spied a log cabin. To their delight they found the housewife at home. She welcomed the wearied and famished travelers and invited them in and provided them with refreshments. As they rested, Ellen White talked with her of Jesus and heaven and then left with her a copy of her little sixty-four-page book Experience and Views. 1BIO 278.6

At a camp meeting at Lansing, Michigan, in 1876, Ellen found the answer to what had seemed a mystery. After a meeting at which Ellen had spoken she was approached by a woman who grasped her hand and inquired if she remembered calling at a log house in the woods more than twenty years before. The woman had provided the wandering strangers with refreshments, and Ellen White had left with her a copy of her little book Experience and Views. The woman now introduced quite a company to Ellen White, all Seventh-day Adventists, who dated their experience to the influence of that copy of her first book. Commenting further on the experience, Ellen White wrote: 1BIO 279.1

She stated that she had lent that little book to her neighbors, as new families had settled around her, until there was very little left of it and she expressed a great desire to obtain another copy of the work. Her neighbors were deeply interested in it, and were desirous of seeing the writer. She said that when I called upon her I talked to her of Jesus and the beauties of heaven, and that the words were spoken with such fervor that she was charmed, and had never forgotten them. Since that time the Lord had sent ministers to preach the truth to them, and now there was quite a company observing the Sabbath. The influence of that little book, now worn out with perusing, had extended from one to another, performing its silent work, until the soil was ready for the seeds of truth.—Ibid. (see also Evangelism, 448, 449). 1BIO 279.2