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


In the White Home in Santa Rosa

During those months in Santa Rosa, Ellen White wrote frequently to the children in Michigan—Edson and Emma, and Willie. Of paramount concern was James's health, now greatly improved but not what it once was. Concerning this, Ellen wrote on February 7: 2BIO 404.3

Your father is much stronger than he was one year ago. He is of excellent courage. He does considerable writing, takes care of two horses, harnesses and unharnesses them. He takes care of one cow, all but the milking. That Lucinda does.—Letter 8, 1874. 2BIO 404.4

The mail, of course, was a very important matter. The post office in Santa Rosa was located about a mile from where they lived (Letter 13, 1874). “Your father,” she wrote, “gets up in the morning before breakfast and walks down to the post office with his mail.” She added: 2BIO 404.5

I accompany him, but he walks so fast I have to exert myself considerably to keep up with him. It has generally been otherwise. He could not walk with me.... 2BIO 404.6

Your father does much writing night after night. He sits up until midnight writing. I do not think this is a good plan.—Letter 9, 1874. 2BIO 404.7

“We have plenty of house room,” she wrote, “and all the furniture we need. We are comfortably situated.”—Letter 8, 1874. “The continuous rains have hindered us from riding out and going about as we need, to mix in with our writing.”—Letter 9, 1874. Not yet acquainted with the winter months on the coast in northern California, with their rain and fog, her judgment was that Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Woodland, and San Francisco were not places for invalids. “But,” she wrote, “there are locations within thirty miles that have the reputation of being very healthy, the atmosphere light and pure.—Letter 8, 1874. 2BIO 404.8

James and Ellen White had become responsible for Addie and May Walling, and found some very judicious training necessary. “The little girls are doing well,” she wrote on January 23; “May is rather delicate.”—Letter 5, 1874. Four days later she wrote that she saw in them a temper and disposition of the mother, which needed to be carefully handled and corrected lest it grow upon them. She added: “We do not have much trouble with them.”—Letter 7, 1874. On February 7 she reported: 2BIO 405.1

Our children are both well. We think they try to do right. We tell them that if they are naughty they cannot ride out with Uncle James. May does not fret now at being crossed. She seems to be under good control.—Letter 9, 1874. 2BIO 405.2

Later she noted, “Addie and May are chattering like blackbirds and I can hardly keep my mind on my writing.”—Ibid. 2BIO 405.3

In mid-February she mentioned in a letter to Willie: 2BIO 405.4

You cannot live too plainly when you are studying so constantly. Your father and I have dropped milk, cream, butter, sugar, and meat entirely since we came to California. We are far clearer in mind and far better in body. We live very plainly. We cannot write unless we do live simply.

Your father bought meat once for May while she was sick, but not a penny have we expended in meat since. We have the most excellent fruit of all kinds.—Letter 12, 1874. 2BIO 405.5

It would be well to mention that caution should be exercised in observing the particular articles of diet that appeared on the White table at different times and under greatly varying circumstances. While they were in the Rocky Mountains a few months earlier, where fruit was very scarce and vegetables limited and costly, fish from the snow-fed brooks and lakes constituted an important part of their diet. By and large James and Ellen White worked on the principle of making use of the best foods available, prepared in the best manner, all within the economic structure in which they operated. 2BIO 405.6

In the days of which we write, James and Ellen White, having accepted health reform, were vegetarians. But this did not preclude the occasional use of some meat, especially when nonmeat articles were not easily available. Ellen White took a positive stand in Australia in 1896, and from that time onward no meat appeared on her table; this soon included fish and fowl. When considering precisely what Ellen White ate and checking to see if this accorded with the main body of her teachings, the time, place, circumstances, and foods available to her should be taken into account. The reader must keep in mind that there was no easy nor simple refrigeration. Nor were there the cereal breakfast foods or vegetable protein foods we know so well, in existence. 2BIO 406.1