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


Camping in Indian Territory

The circumstances called for special precautions against Indian raiders, either on the Indians’ own initiative or inspired by lawless white settlers. Tents were pitched, but before they were fully prepared, a severe storm struck. Ellen White described the experience in a letter to the children in Battle Creek: 3BIO 110.2

Before the tent was trenched, the beds were made on the ground and on the bedstead. When the storm struck us we were found unprepared and in ten minutes there were several inches of water in the tent. We got the two girls up and placed the bed and bedding on our own bedstead, and such a mess as we were in. 3BIO 110.3

After a time we decided, all four of us—Marian [Davis], Adelia Cole, Etta Bears, and myself—to sleep crossways on the bed and [that] Father [would] lodge with the doctor in the wagon, Corliss in our carriage. Thus we returned to rest.... The next night we lodged the same way.—Letter 20a, 1879. 3BIO 110.4

Their route took them through heavy woods. Observed Ellen White in her diary: 3BIO 110.5

It seemed very lonesome journeying in the thick forest. We thought what might be if robbers or horse thieves—Indians or white men—should molest us, but we had a vigilant watch guarding the animals.—Manuscript 4, 1879. 3BIO 110.6

The precautions they took were in line with what was generally followed in like circumstances. The wagons were placed in a circle surrounding the horses and mules; two men carrying guns stood guard in two-hour shifts (Letter 20, 1879). Friday they reached Johnson Ranch and had ample time to prepare for the Sabbath. There was plenty of grass for the horses, and at the farmhouse they purchased “good milk, butter, and eggs” (Manuscript 4, 1879). They could also catch up with the washing—Ellen White did thirteen towels while Marian prepared the food for the Sabbath (Letter 20, 1879). She commented: 3BIO 110.7

We were having our first experience of overland journeying in transporting our sick and those too poor to pay car [railway] expenses, but the Lord cared for us.—Manuscript 4, 1879. 3BIO 111.1

Sunday morning they were on their way again. As they camped for the night at a place referred to as Stone Wall, she reported to the children at Battle Creek: 3BIO 111.2

We have reached thus far on our journey to Colorado. We have traveled four days. Rested yesterday. Spoke under our tent to our party of thirty-one. Was very free in speaking. Today we picked nearly a quart of strawberries. I have just gathered a large bundle of greens to cook for our breakfast. While Father is buying water buckets and cornmeal, I am writing. 3BIO 111.3

Father rides horseback a considerable part of the time. He is enjoying the journey much.... We are in sight of a meetinghouse. We are now being urged to speak in the Indian Territory. We shall ride out, camp, and then return to meet with the people. We will thus work our way along, preaching as we go. I will finish this tomorrow morning.... Last night I spoke to one hundred people assembled in a respectable meetinghouse. We find here an excellent class of people.... 3BIO 111.4

I had great freedom in presenting before them the love of God evidenced to man in the gift of His Son. All listened with the deepest interest. The Baptist minister arose and said we had heard the gospel that night and he hoped all would heed the words spoken.—Letter 36, 1879. 3BIO 111.5

James White also spoke a short time, and the Whites were urged to remain and hold more meetings, but this could not be, for they needed to press on. It was a mile and a half back to the camp, but the success of the meeting warmed their hearts. 3BIO 111.6