Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5)


Ellen White Purchases the Property

While some of these council meetings were being held, on Sunday morning Ellen White could not resist the temptation to slip away and take another look at what she felt would surely be her future home. And she pondered, as she wrote later: 5BIO 34.1

This place was none of my seeking. It has come to me without a thought or purpose of mine. The Lord is so kind and gracious to me. I can trust my interests with Him who is too wise to err and too good to do me harm.— Ibid. 5BIO 34.2

The property represented an investment on the part of Robert Pratt of $12,000. It was sold to Elder Burden for $8,000, and in securing it Burden had arranged for long-term, easy payments. So Ellen White and Elder Burden sat down to work out a settlement that was finally consummated on Tuesday, October 16, when she and her family moved in. 5BIO 34.3

Burden transferred to her the entire property—73.71 acres of land—and a half interest in the spring. Then, as agreed, the Sanitarium bought back 8.7 acres for a sewage-disposal area at the far west corner of the property, and 5.5 acres for a food factory across Blackmon Canyon Creek to the east and south. For these two pieces of land and for the half interest in the spring, $3,000 was subtracted from the $8,000. Ellen White paid Burden $1,000 in cash and assumed a $4,000 mortgage with interest at 6 1/4 percent. “It is like stepping out of our home in Cooranbong,” she wrote to her old friends the Farnsworths, “into one already prepared for us, without any time or care on our part.”—Letter 146, 1900. 5BIO 34.4

On the day of the purchase they moved in, rather jubilantly, and she reported to Elder Irwin, “We are now located in our pleasant and much-appreciated home.”—Letter 127, 1900. She outlined the living arrangements. They were crowded, and would be until other buildings could be erected, particularly a home for William White and his family, who were temporarily staying at a nearby cottage. Beds were even placed in the living room. 5BIO 34.5

One piece of furniture, in addition to what they found in the home, was squeezed in. It was Ellen White's comfortable writing chair, equipped with a writing board that she could swing to one side for freedom of movement. This was the only piece of furniture she had brought with her from Australia. 5BIO 34.6

The general location of the home was certainly ideal. It was two and one-half miles northwest of St. Helena, and about fifteen to twenty minutes’ walk from the Sanitarium, depending upon whether one was going or coming. In addition to its beautiful location, with hills to the south and mountains to the north and east, she particularly appreciated the fact that the home was not far from the Sanitarium. Here she would have an opportunity to address a changing audience of non-Adventists often, which she enjoyed doing. 5BIO 35.1

Ellen White had traveled widely through her life. She had crossed the Rocky Mountains many times. She had lived in Colorado and in Switzerland. She had crossed the Alps into Italy, and traveled extensively in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. But she was able to exclaim in 1905, perhaps with some bias, “Certainly no place I have ever seen equals the beauty of the scenery around here.”—Letter 111, 1905. At another time she expressed herself, “This world is not our abiding place, but I feel very grateful for the comforts of a good home. I consider the country here to be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.”—Letter 117, 1905. 5BIO 35.2