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


Tent Meetings in Woodland

Tent meetings were held in Woodland through August and September, with Cornell doing most of the preaching, although with somewhat less energy and dedication than such work called for. The lackluster meetings yielded some baptisms, however, and steps were initiated to erect a church building. The last weekend in September the meetings were brought to a close as the tent was needed for the camp meeting to open later in the week at Windsor. There James and Ellen White learned, with distress, of the poor showing in Woodland and felt impressed to take steps to save the situation. Five years later, as he visited the site of the Windsor camp meeting, James White recalled: 2BIO 366.5

The tent had been to Woodland, and it was said that a very great interest had been raised, which was lost through bad management. We had heard by letter of this great interest and expected to see a large force from Woodland; but to our surprise, we found on the Windsor campground only six from Woodland. We were moved by the Spirit of God to urge that the tent should return. But all the preachers were discouraged about the place and opposed our proposition. 2BIO 366.6

We had never been to Woodland, and knew nothing of the facts in the case. But the impression was upon us that we should speak in the tent at Woodland. 2BIO 367.1

We made the matter a subject of prayer, and in answer the impression came with great power that we should go to Woodland with the tent. And as we related our impressions the preachers shook their heads. This led us to visit the same place again and pray over the matter. We came away the third time fully settled, and offered to bear all the risk of such a move. Then the tent went to Woodland and the result was as follows: 2BIO 367.2

Both Mrs. White and the writer spoke to large audiences with freedom and power, the interest was fully restored, and in less than three months a church of nearly fifty was raised up, and a house of worship was built and paid for, which cost about $2,500.—The Signs of the Times, December 6, 1877. 2BIO 367.3

The revived tent meetings, with James and Ellen White leading out, brought new life to the effort. Ellen White preached to nearly five hundred people November 15. There were meetings every night, and the days were filled in visiting interested persons, encouraging them to take their stand. “Their labors,” wrote Loughborough,” ...told well in the favor of the cause, of deep, practical godliness and truth” (The Review and Herald, December 3, 1872). 2BIO 367.4

Willie accompanied his parents to Woodland, and with them was intrigued with the fruit of the land. That area is noted for its fruit. In her diary for October 21, 1872, after writing of her personal visits with people wrestling with decisions, Ellen stated: 2BIO 367.5

We rode out five miles to Brother Grayson's. We found an excellent farm of four hundred acres. He has a large vineyard and large wheat fields. Willie has been gathering grapes and figs and drying them. We have quite a quantity drying. Brother and Sister Grayson say Willie has stolen their hearts. Willie thinks much of this kind family.—Manuscript 5, 1872. 2BIO 367.6

They stayed that night at the Grayson home. After breakfast they walked out with Willie to see his grapes, and satisfied themselves that he had worked hard at fruit drying, the few days he had been there. 2BIO 367.7

The next mention of their son was in connection with his accompanying M. G. Kellogg back to the East, to enroll in Dr. R. T. Trall's Medical School, in Florence Heights, New Jersey. Kellogg had taken his medical training there and was returning for a second course extending through a few months. While at Woodland James and Ellen White had arranged for both Willie and Edson to accompany him to gain medical training (Letter 20, 1872). 2BIO 368.1

Thursday was their last day in Woodland, a day Ellen White spent in visiting people interested in the message, praying with them, and encouraging them to take their stand. In the evening she spoke, closing her work with an altar call. “Quite a large number came forward,” she noted in her diary, “and we united in prayer for them.”—Manuscript 5, 1872. The meeting lasted until half past ten. Friday morning, November 1, they were up at four, preparing to take an early train to San Francisco. They arrived in the city at noon. Loughborough and Cornell closed up the tent meeting the next Tuesday evening, and the tent was moved to San Francisco on Wednesday. Cornell was left in Woodland to pastor the flock and to lead out in the construction of a house of worship. 2BIO 368.2