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


Ellen White Revives her Drowned Baby

As summer approached the brethren in Battle Creek felt that a general conference should be held in late May, and the call went out for it to open on Friday, May 23. The call was accompanied by a generous offer from the members of the Battle Creek church to “entertain all who come for the worship of God, according to their best ability” (Ibid., May 1, 1856). In the day or two before the conference there was a flurry of activity in the White home. Rooms were cleaned, beds were improvised, and provisions were stocked. 1BIO 337.1

Late one afternoon Willie, now 20 months old, was having a delightful time playing boat with a large tub of mop water in the kitchen, pushing a stick around in the well-filled “lake.” As Jennie Fraser slipped out the back door to get some chips for the fire, she asked, “Willie, what are you doing?” Returning to the kitchen, she saw one little foot sticking out of the dirty water. Pulling the apparently lifeless body out of the water, she ran to the mother, screaming, “He's drowned! He's drowned!” 1BIO 337.2

Taking Willie, the mother asked, “Was the water hot or cold?” With the answer “It was cold,” Ellen ordered, “Send for the doctor and call James.” John Foy ran for the doctor, and Jennie for James. 1BIO 337.3

Ellen reached for scissors and headed for the front door. She put Willie on the lawn, cut the wet clothes from his body, and then rolled him on the grass as the sudsy water gurgled from his nose and mouth. Occasionally she lifted the child and looked for signs of life. 1BIO 337.4

James was soon by her side. “Take that dead baby out of that woman's hands,” a neighbor urged James. 1BIO 337.5

“No,” he replied. “It is her child, and no one shall take it away from her.” After about twenty minutes as Ellen held Willie up she saw a little flicker of an eyelid and a little puckering of his lips. Ordering Jennie to heat thick cloths, she took Willie into the house. Soon he was in his wicker crib, wrapped in warm cloths frequently changed to impart maximum heat to the body of the recovering child (Spiritual Gifts, 2:207, 208; The Review and Herald, January 9, 1936; The Signs of the Times, December 3, 1885). 1BIO 337.6

A vivid illustration of the perseverance that characterized Ellen White's work! To this perseverance may be credited the life of one she years later was instructed had been born to be her helper, and indirectly, this biography, authored by his son. 1BIO 337.7