Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)


Involved Again in Important Interests at Battle Creek

Returning from the West, we reached Battle Creek, October 13, and spent one week with Brother Andrews in matters of importance relative to the Health Institute, the Publishing Association, the Battle Creek School, religious meetings, besides our own personal interests in book matters, house building, and fitting up winter clothing. It was a busy week. 2BIO 251.1

The Health Institute is prospering. God's blessing is there. The church is still settling into the work. And the prospect is very encouraging for the establishment of a good school at Battle Creek, where not only the sciences may be taught, but the principles and spirit of the religion of Jesus may be impressed upon the children and youth who may attend it.... We left Battle Creek in company with Brother Andrews, the twenty-first, for the New York State Conference.—Ibid., November 17, 1868 2BIO 251.2

Just before leaving, Ellen White wrote to Mrs. Lockwood, apparently living in Greenville: 2BIO 251.3

The work is ahead of anything that has ever yet been in Battle Creek. May the Lord pity and save His people. Our staying here or removing will depend upon the course the church takes here.—Letter 22, 1868. 2BIO 251.4

Then, anticipating the setting up of housekeeping on their return from the East, she noted: 2BIO 251.5

Brother Sawyer will spend the winter in Greenville. He will go with a load of goods the last of this week and will bring a load back. Please see that all my forks and spoons and knives are brought. I would like those two large brown dishes; also all my bedding, my mattresses, all my clothing, especially the little trunk and contents. Put in some of the best dishes. The old plants and odds and ends might as well remain. Send one of the best bedsteads.—Ibid. 2BIO 251.6

They left Battle Creek with a somewhat open schedule, intending after the State meeting in New York to spend several weeks visiting the churches in that state. But as October was turning to November they received word of the rapidly failing health of Ellen's sister, Sarah Belden, in Connecticut, who was dying of “quick consumption” (tuberculosis). After two impressive dreams of being there, the Whites changed plans quickly. Appointments in New York were canceled, and on November 4 they were on the eastward-bound train. Letters indicated that Sarah's situation was critical (Letter 28, 1868), and now Ellen was on her way “to comfort her in the conflict she must have in giving up her children, five in number, the eldest, one year and a half younger than Willie.” She added, “As she is reconciling herself to laying down her life's burdens, I may make the struggle less severe and soothe and heal the lacerated heart.”—Ibid. One of the five children was Frank E. Belden, who later became a writer of scores of well-known Adventist hymns. Ellen spent a week with her sister, who died a few days after their visit. 2BIO 252.1