Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


Chapter 1—(1876) A Whirl of Activity

The clouds and cold drizzle that dampened the Bay cities of northern California on New Year's Day, 1876, in no way betokened the spirits of James and Ellen White, who were residing in Oakland. It was the Sabbath and a special day, a day for the edification and building up of the church, a day set apart by the General Conference Committee to be spent in prayer, fasting, and humiliation before God. 3BIO 11.1

The Seventh-day Adventist Church had grown to a membership of just a little more than ten thousand. A well-established publishing house functioned near midcontinent in Battle Creek, Michigan, and another was in its first year of operation in Oakland, California. A medical institution in Battle Creek, which would in a few months have its tenth birthday, was now just getting well supplied with professional personnel. Across the street from it was the Battle Creek College, a year old and enjoying a good patronage. J. N. Andrews was pioneering the work of the church in Europe, pleading for someone to help him, and the prospects were encouraging. 3BIO 11.2

James White, president of the General Conference, was 54 years of age. Having suffered several strokes resulting largely from overwork, he was not well at times. Ellen was 48 and in quite good health, considering her medical history. She was eager to continue her writing, especially on the life of Christ. They owned a home in Oakland adjacent to the newly erected publishing house, on the plot of land purchased for the new publishing venture. This home was now up for sale, for they were building a new one nearby, on Eleventh Street, near Castro. Their family included Willie (who was about to be married and set up his own home), Mary Clough, Lucinda Hall, and May and Addie Walling, two of Mrs. White's nieces for whom they were providing a home. Edson, who was married, lived nearby. 3BIO 11.3

The Whites did not intend that Oakland be the place for their permanent residence, for they must keep close to Battle Creek and its many interests there. Wrote James White: 3BIO 12.1

There our first college, our Health Institute, and our main printing house are located. There is a church of more than two hundred members who regard us as their pastor, though we are from them six months at a time, and are with them only a few Sabbaths in a year. We can never have as much interest at any other point as at Battle Creek.—The Signs of the Times, November 11, 1875. 3BIO 12.2