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


Ellen White's Fiftieth Birthday

Ellen White's fiftieth birthday fell on Monday, November 26. It came while they were on one of their tours by horse and carriage. She wrote of it to Willie and Mary the next day from Healdsburg: 3BIO 75.6

My birthday is past without commemoration. Father and I went to Green Valley from Healdsburg, fourteen miles and back. The road part of the way was bad. We wandered out of the way some. 3BIO 75.7

We arrived at Brother Ross's. They had nothing in the home to eat. I tended a babe, held it in one arm and prepared my dinner myself. Made a little mush, cooked some eggs, and put on a few cold gems. This composed my dinner, birthday dinner, half a century old! Not much display in this. 3BIO 75.8

But then our birth does not amount to much. It is not of much consequence in regard to our birth—not half as much as in regard to our lives. How do we live? Our daily life will either honor or dishonor the day of our birth.—Letter 39, 1877. 3BIO 76.1

But her husband had not forgotten her birthday. Most likely it was before they set out that Monday morning with the carriage that he wrote a eulogy published on the editorial page of the Signs under the heading of “Half a Century“: 3BIO 76.2

Today, November 26, Mrs. White is 50 years old. She became a devoted Christian at the tender age of 12 years, and immediately became a laborer for other youth, and was very successful in winning them to Christ. 3BIO 76.3

At the early age of 17 years she became a powerful public speaker, and was able to hold large audiences an hour or more. She has traveled and spoken to large audiences, some of them reaching as far as twenty thousands, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in eighteen States, besides the Canadas. She has now labored publicly thirty-three years. 3BIO 76.4

Besides this great labor she has written an immense amount. Her books now in print amount to not less than five thousand pages, besides thousands of pages of epistolary matter addressed to churches and individuals. 3BIO 76.5

And notwithstanding this great work, Mrs. White is, at the age of 50 years, as active as at any former time in her life, and more efficient in her labors. Her health is excellent, and during the last season's camp meetings she was able to perform as much labor in speaking, exhorting, and praying as two of our ablest ministers.... 3BIO 76.6

Mrs. White enters upon the second half-century of her life, with the confident expectation of spending most of it over on the evergreen shore.—The Signs of the Times, December 6, 1877. 3BIO 76.7

As to James White and his improving health, she testified that the Sabbath before her birthday he addressed the church in Petaluma, speaking for an hour, “as well as he ever spoke in his life” (Letter 39, 1877). 3BIO 76.8