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


The Healdsburg Hideout

Two weeks later they were on the ferry traveling northward from Oakland, bringing with them all their goods for housekeeping. “We leave Oakland for the present,” she wrote to the children in Battle Creek, “to test the retirement of rural life, hoping it will prove a decided advantage to Father.” She added: 3BIO 79.3

His mind is exercised upon writing, and he will divide his time between writing and physical exercise. We have just such a place as will please Father, and it gives him something to do.... We shall build us a humble house, convenient with three fireplaces, one in the parlor, one in the sitting room, and one in the bedroom.—Letter 42, 1877. 3BIO 79.4

Again to the children in Battle Creek, she wrote on Christmas Day: 3BIO 79.5

We are in our humble house [the “little shanty”], not half as much of a house as the Walling house under the hill in Colorado. We have four rooms, all small: two bedrooms, small kitchen, and a sitting room which serves for sitting room, parlor and dining room, and sleeping room. It is not quite twelve by twelve. 3BIO 79.6

Our principal work as yet has been taking things up and setting them down again because we know not any place to put them. Sister Clemmens has quite a number of print [cloth] bags hung up above her head on all sides of the kitchen, for she has no pantry boxes, and rude shelves in nooks and corners she puts to best use. 3BIO 79.7

A large box which brought one of our nice lounges from Oakland serves us for wardrobe and bookcase. All our goods we wish for use are here, piled up.... We have an old-fashioned fireplace. We have the great back logs and we will use all the wood we want and not stint ourselves a bit.—Letter 43, 1877. 3BIO 80.1

James White chose to sleep in the living room by the fireplace. The blazing fire cheered his heart. Also sleeping in the living room was Augustus Collins (The Signs of the Times, January 3, 1878). This man was a new convert from the Northwest. Some weeks before, he had been invited to go to a “beast show” (a lecture on the symbolic beasts of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13), where he had learned of the prophecies and the soon coming of Christ. He thought to obtain employment as a ship's cook and to try to keep the Sabbath as best he could. Edson intercepted him, in Oakland, and sent him to Healdsburg to help his parents. Ellen White described him as a man of large general information and of considerable intelligence—earlier he had served General Robert E. Lee as an aide. “Father enjoys his society,” she wrote, “for he is a man with a most interesting experience.” He proved to be just the kind of help they needed in their new venture, and it was James White's pleasure and privilege to baptize him in a nearby crystal-clear stream shortly after he had joined them on their mountain ranch (Letter 43, 1877). 3BIO 80.2