Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


The Staggering Blow

But the staggering blow came a few days later. Unexpectedly the court hearing the case involving the holding of the school property, for which payment had been made, ruled unfavorably in a suit that arose from disputed interest in the amount of $40. The cost to the school enterprise for the judgment and attorney's fees was $1,750, and this at a time when funds were extremely short. To W. C. White, president of the union and chairman of the school board, it was staggering, and drained him of his courage and strength. It was all so unnecessary. Gladly would the school board have paid the £8 of interest, but the chairman was in New Zealand when the matter came up, and the attorneys handling the title to the property, confident they could win, filed suit without proper authorization. They lost, and Australia lost. The church lost not only the money but also nearly a year in getting the school underway. Depression overwhelmed the few who had a full knowledge of the facts. 4BIO 266.6

On May 31 W. C. White wrote to his longtime friend W. C. Sisley, who had drawn the plans for the buildings and was now in Battle Creek: 4BIO 267.1

To us this decision [against us] means a great deal. Our work has been delayed nearly a year, and now we have about £350 to pay. This is the severest disappointment and misfortune I have ever experienced in connection with our work, and for a time I was almost paralyzed with discouragement.... 4BIO 267.2

While we have been waiting for our lawsuit to terminate, we have not felt free to say much to our brethren about what was delaying us.—9 WCW, p. 496. 4BIO 267.3

The W. C. White family was living at this time in what was known as the “convent,” a two-story building formerly occupied by the Sisters of St. Joseph. He rented this from the Catholics in early May, and it provided not only living quarters for his family of six but office space as well. He wrote of it to Emily Campbell, now in the United States: 4BIO 267.4

This is a pleasant house of nine rooms. We are now fairly settled. Some furniture I had, some Mother loaned me, and some I have bought from the school. We have very little that is new.... 4BIO 267.5

Brother Francis Tucker is boarding with us. Sister Nora Lacey is chief housekeeper, with Ella as assistant. Brother and Sister H. C. Lacey are boarding with us, so you see we have a family of ten, counting the twins. Ella takes care of the cow; Mabel fills the lamps, cuts kindling wood, and takes care of the babies. Everybody is busy.— Ibid., 503. 4BIO 267.6