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


Chapter 8—(1878-1879) The Winter in Northern Texas

One action taken at the 1878 General Conference session was a recommendation that a camp meeting be held in Texas during the autumn, when James and Ellen White could attend (The Review and Herald, October 24, 1878). After consulting R. M. Kilgore, who had just completed a tent meeting at Plano, north of Dallas, James White announced in the Review and Herald that a general camp meeting would be held in that community November 12 to 19. This gave the Whites time to assist in the two late camp meetings in Kansas, one near Topeka and the other some 150 miles south, close to Oswego. White reported that Kansas was “increasing her population faster than any other State in the Union.” The people, although generally poor, were “intelligent and ready to read and hear, and investigate the reasons of our faith and hope” (Ibid., November 21, 1878). 3BIO 98.1

Surveying the field at about the same time, S. N. Haskell conjectured that there was no reason “why Kansas may not be in a short time second to no conference in point of numbers” (Ibid., November 7, 1878). With people ready to hear and little companies springing up across the State, it is understandable that four camp meetings were held in one season to nurture the new believers (Ibid., November 21, 1878). 3BIO 98.2

James White could not get away from Battle Creek in time to attend the meeting near Topeka, held October 24 to 29 at a community known then as “Richland,” but Ellen White, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Emma, was there, as well as was Haskell. The camp consisted of seventeen family tents and two large tents, one for meetings and one divided with curtains to accommodate campers. Some of the 150 campers came long distances. One family came two hundred miles in a covered wagon. Each tent had a stove, and the preaching tent had two—on Sabbath morning an inch of snow fell, and the weather was very cold. 3BIO 98.3

James White and D. T. Bourdeau joined the team at the Sherman camp meeting November 1, the second day of that convocation, held near Oswego. About a hundred believers had come from a widely scattered area. On the grounds were ten family tents and a large number of covered wagons. Of the congregational tents, one was used as a chapel and for prayer meetings; the other was “divided into apartments for families” (Ibid.). Among the new believers who assembled at the Sherman meeting were those who questioned the stand of the church on temperance and the gift of prophecy. Close attention was paid to Ellen White's preaching. Sabbath morning James White “spoke nearly two hours to a tent full of eager listeners on the words: ‘The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’ (Revelation 19:10)” (Ibid.). Tuesday afternoon, the Whites, with Haskell and Emma, were off by train, across the “Indian Territory” (Oklahoma), bound for Dallas, Texas. 3BIO 99.1