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


With James Edson White in Vicksburg

On Friday morning, Edson White met the party in Vicksburg and took them to the Morning Star, which would be Ellen White's home for the next few days (Manuscript 29, 1902). It lay tied to a landing in Centennial Lake, just below Fort Hill where the houses of the blacks clustered. 5BIO 59.2

As she stepped aboard, she found the ship's deck was 105 feet long and 24 feet across. In the bow on the lower deck was the boiler room, then the printing office, where two steam presses had printed the Gospel Herald for many months. Next were two staterooms and a dining room, then the galley, and finally the engine room. Photographs of the boat show that instead of having one wide paddle wheel at the stern, the Morning Star had two, one on either side. 5BIO 59.3

Immediately behind the smokestacks, at the front of the upper deck, was a business office. Just behind this were the main cabin and Edson and Emma's stateroom. In the rear portion of the upper deck was a sixteen-by-forty-foot chapel, where services were conducted. Even larger meetings could be held on the third, or hurricane, deck, where two hundred could be seated. The third deck also had a small pilothouse, with the steering apparatus and a bunk for the pilot. 5BIO 59.4

If a hand sketch of the Morning Star published in the Gospel Herald is to be trusted, the boat's emblem, a large metal star, was suspended between the smokestacks at the bow. The star is now a cherished possession of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. 5BIO 59.5

“I was pleased with the arrangement of the boat,” Ellen White later wrote, “and with the efforts made to make life on it as agreeable as possible. I found that everything about the rooms fitted up as a home for my son and his wife, and their helpers, was of the simplest order. I saw nothing expensive or unnecessary.”—Manuscript 29, 1902. Then she commented: “Perhaps some would have been unwilling to live in such narrow quarters.”— Ibid. 5BIO 59.6

Reminiscing, she penned, “I have followed this boat with my prayers. Some most interesting scenes have been presented to me in connection with it. This boat has been a floating Bethel. At the gospel meetings held on it many have had the privilege of eating of the bread of life.”— Ibid. 5BIO 60.1

And looking ahead she said, “I hope it will continue to do its work of taking the truth to those who without its instrumentality would never have an opportunity of hearing the truth. Through its work many have heard the last message of warning.”— Ibid. 5BIO 60.2

Sabbath morning she spoke in the new church building on the hill. It was crowded, for believers had come in from quite a distance. Choosing the first verses of John 14 as her text, she portrayed the reward of the faithful. She pictured Christ as a personal Saviour. She urged a careful and firm witness in favor of the truth, not in their own strength but in the strength and grace that God gives. 5BIO 60.3

While Ellen White was on board the Morning Star at Vicksburg, Edson doubtless had opportunity to tell his mother about the boat, and reminisce about some of the harrowing experiences through which he and his boat and crew had passed. 5BIO 60.4