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


En Route to Battle Creek

The travel schedule called for the party to spend Sunday night on the train en route to Nashville via Memphis. Reaching Memphis in the morning, they found that a meeting had been arranged for nine o'clock (16 WCW, p. 300). There were only a handful of Sabbathkeepers residing there, but they had purchased a lot and a meetinghouse, and thirty-five were present. Among them were four canvassers and one Bible worker. 5BIO 65.1

Leaving Memphis at one o'clock, they arrived at Nashville at eight-thirty. Edson, who had hurried on ahead, was at the station with his wife, Emma, when the train pulled in! He had brought what was called the “Gospel Wagon” to pick up the party (Ibid.). (Willie described it as “a big carry-all.”) The reunion between Ellen White and her daughter-in-law was a happy one. 5BIO 65.2

They were to have two days in Nashville, with the time divided between inspecting the work that was being done there and a convention of the Southern Missionary Society, with meetings on both Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition to the Nashville workers and Ellen White and her party, there were Elders N. W. Allee and Smith Sharp, conference workers from Tennessee. Out-of-State workers included Prof. E. A. Sutherland from Michigan, Elder Stone from Kentucky, Elder D. T. Shireman from North Carolina, Elder F. W. Halladay from Mississippi, I. H. Ford from the Review and Herald, and A. F. Harrison, a canvassing agent for the district (The Gospel Herald, March, 1901). 5BIO 65.3

Tuesday morning they climbed into the “Gospel Wagon,” fourteen in all, and Edson conducted a tour of the Adventist work in Nashville (16 WCW, p. 300). This included the printing establishment, which later grew into the Southern Publishing Association, treatment rooms for blacks, and the treatment rooms operated by Louis Hanson and his wife for whites. 5BIO 65.4

At the meetings of the Southern Missionary Society, Ellen White spoke strongly in favor of the establishment of an industrial school near Nashville. She “gave a straight testimony upon this point, bringing out clearly the need of such schools, and in regard to other lines of work in the South. She also spoke about the necessity of our people arousing to the needs of this field, which has been so long neglected, notwithstanding the instruction that has come to us as a people, over and over again.”—Gospel Herald Supplement, March, 1901. Plans were laid for developing and strengthening the work with some items referred to for study “at the time of the General Conference, to be held at Battle Creek” (Ibid.). 5BIO 65.5

At the Wednesday meeting it was voted “to meet from time to time, as thought necessary by the president of the society, during the General Conference meeting at Battle Creek” (Ibid.). 5BIO 66.1

The party left Nashville on another night journey, arriving in Chicago at ten o'clock Thursday morning, March 21. With the tenuous condition of Ellen White's health when they left Nashville, no firm plans had been made for meetings in Chicago. The general plan was that if she was able to do so, they would spend Thursday in Chicago and go on to Battle Creek on Thursday evening or Friday morning. 5BIO 66.2

The Chicago visit was indeed an interesting one for Ellen White (Manuscript 29, 1902). In visions the work in Chicago had been opened up to her. On the basis of these visions she had written encouraging words and had sounded warnings of the perils of a disproportionate work. Such endeavors would funnel too large a percentage of available funds into a work that was good in itself, but that would yield only a limited lasting fruitage. 5BIO 66.3

The church's medical school, the American Medical Missionary College, had been started in 1895 with its clinical division in Chicago. She was deeply interested in this undertaking to train physicians within the church's educational and medical structure. 5BIO 66.4

The train was late in its arrival in Chicago, but they found a number of workers waiting to meet them. She was urged to remain over and speak on Sabbath, which she consented to do. When she was told that the medical workers in Chicago would like to hear from her, she also consented to speak at the medical school to students, helpers, and patients. She was pleased when it was suggested that she might have a hydrotherapy treatment at the Sanitarium's branch at 33d Place. Miss S. M. Gallion, a youthful Battle Creek Sanitarium nurse, gave her an hour of bath and massage. For seventy years that nurse cherished the memory of this hour spent with the Lord's messenger. 5BIO 66.5

Sabbath morning Ellen White spoke with freedom to a congregation of about 650 (16 WCW, p. 307). As she looked back she wrote, “It was only by the Lord's help that I was enabled to do this work, for I was weary from traveling, and was not free from pain for a moment.”—Manuscript 29, 1902. 5BIO 66.6