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

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Chapter 26—A Trip Into the South

On Wednesday, May 25, near the close of the Lake Union Conference session, Ellen White left Berrien Springs for a trip into the South. With her were Edson White, Sara McEnterfer, Maggie Hare, and Dr. and Mrs. David Paulson. 5BIO 340.1

During the six-hour layover in Chicago, Dr. Paulson arranged to take her out to Hinsdale to the site where plans were being laid to open a new sanitarium. She found Hinsdale something like Takoma Park. She thought the surroundings were perhaps even more beautiful and she felt that it would make an excellent place for a medical institution. 5BIO 340.2

Back in Chicago in the later afternoon, with Edson and her two women helpers she boarded the train for Nashville. The overnight trip was comfortable, and in the morning they were met by W. O. Palmer, one of Edson White's close helpers. He drove them to the plant of the Southern Publishing Association and then to Edson's home nearby. She made this her headquarters for the next six weeks. 5BIO 340.3

During the Berrien Springs meeting both Professor Sutherland and Professor Magan had resigned from their positions of leadership at Emmanuel Missionary College. They expressed their determination to go into the South, find a tract of land, and begin a self-supporting school. From Nashville they set out in various directions in search of a suitable property within their financial capability. They found one in particular—the Fergusen-Nelson place—but the quality of the land fell short of their desires. Then plans were developed for quite a large party to make a trip up the Cumberland River on the Morning Star, to continue the search for a school site. They would wait until W. C. White had closed up his work in the North and joined them in Nashville before making the trip. 5BIO 340.4

Ellen White and all her party would be on the boat. She had been on the Morning Star in 1901 as she passed through Vicksburg, but had not traveled on the boat. A full week would be spent on the trip up the Cumberland River, and besides, she would be with her son and his wife. She eagerly looked forward to this. 5BIO 341.1

While the Morning Star was being readied, she rested in Edson's home. He earnestly hoped that his mother should have an enjoyable experience living on the boat, and craved her counsel as he sought a site for another school for blacks near Nashville. 5BIO 341.2

Recounting the experience, she spoke of the bountiful supply of good things from Edson's garden—green peas, strawberries, potatoes, sweet corn. She felt that the good ten-acre tract of land that had been secured for the publishing house was a favorable one. 5BIO 341.3

As the Sabbath neared, some thought perhaps it would be better if Ellen White did not try to speak that day in Nashville, but she said, “‘I have a message to bear.’”—Letter 183, 1904. She tells of how the Lord strengthened her, and “I bore a straightforward testimony. Maggie reported what I said. Afterward I was told that even had I known the real condition of things in the church, which I did not, I could not have spoken more to the point.”— Ibid. 5BIO 341.4

Tuesday, June 7, was the day set for boarding the Morning Star and beginning the trip up the Cumberland River. That morning she wrote to her granddaughter Mabel: 5BIO 341.5

We are just about to leave here for a trip of six or seven days up the Cumberland River in the Morning Star. Our party will consist of Brethren Magan and Sutherland, your Uncle Edson and your Aunt Emma, your father, your grandmother, Sara, Brother Crisler, who returned from Graysville yesterday, Maggie, Edson's stenographer, and several others. We expect to start about noon today.—Letter 191, 1904. 5BIO 341.6

Although the main objective for the trip was to find land for a self-supporting school, everyone looked forward to a change and a little vacation. Brethren Sutherland and Magan had heard that land was available for $5 to $10 an acre near Carthage, Tennessee, some ninety direct miles north of Nashville. 5BIO 341.7

They did not get away at noon as they had expected, for some repairs had been made on the boat, which called for an inspection before they could leave. Nonetheless they boarded late Tuesday afternoon to be ready to go as soon as the boat was ready. 5BIO 342.1

Edson had served as pilot on the Mississippi River and had license papers for that. But he did not have pilot's papers for the Cumberland River, so he secured the services of an accredited pilot. He was eager to learn all he could about the navigation of this river so that he could pilot the boat on it in the future. 5BIO 342.2

Ellen White was delighted to find the rooms aboard pleasant and convenient. The boat had apparently been tied up for some time, and was not refitted. Upon coming on board the party rededicated the boat. In a season of prayer they pleaded with God that in all its service it should be an agency to accomplish much good in various ways, bringing light to many places that otherwise could not be reached. In its earlier service the Morning Star had been used as a meeting house and as a dwelling for Edson White and his wife. 5BIO 342.3