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


In Old Battle Creek Again

After the Sabbath, W. C. White hastened by train to Battle Creek, a three-hour journey. The next morning Ellen White with Sara and Maggie made the trip, and they soon settled on the second floor of Dr. Kellogg's comfortable home. Six rooms were made available to the party. A horse and carriage with a driver was at their disposal. Dr. Kellogg arranged for a nurse to come over from the Sanitarium each evening to give Ellen White a treatment, and a young woman in the house did the cooking for the group (16 WCW, p. 307). 5BIO 67.1

W. C. White threw himself wholeheartedly into a publishers’ convention, which began Monday morning, but no mention is made of Ellen White's activities until later in the week. W. C. White had been in Battle Creek four years before in connection with his trip to the United States to attend the General Conference session held at Lincoln, Nebraska. But it was Ellen White's first visit in ten years. Sara McEnterfer, of course, was glad to be back. For Maggie Hare, whose home was in New Zealand, it was a new and exciting experience. 5BIO 67.2

With a horse and carriage and driver at their disposal, no doubt Ellen White took the opportunity to show Maggie around Battle Creek. Dr. Kellogg's spacious home, with its grounds, occupied almost a square block at the corner of Manchester and Wood streets, six blocks from the Tabernacle. Just down Wood Street one short block was the little cottage James and Ellen White had built in 1856. It was the first home they had owned, and at the time of this writing it is the oldest Seventh-day Adventist landmark in Battle Creek. Here in 1858 she had written Spiritual Gifts, Volume I, her first account of the great controversy story. 5BIO 67.3

On one day she would, of course, drive out to the Oak Hill Cemetery to the White family plot and pause at the graves of James White and their two sons, the youngest and the oldest. Herbert died at the age of 3 months, and Henry at the age of 16. James White's father and mother were also buried there, and there was the grave of Mary Kelsey White, W. C. White's first wife, and also James White's sister, Mary Chase. What memories must have come back to her as she stood under the leafless trees at this hallowed spot. 5BIO 67.4

On the hillside immediately above were the graves of J. P. Kellogg and his wife, Ann, the parents of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and W. K. Kellogg, of cornflake fame. The Kelloggs were a stalwart family. How they had sacrificed and struggled with the Whites and others in building up the work in Battle Creek in its beginning days. 5BIO 68.1

Of course, there were the institutions in Battle Creek. The Review and Herald Publishing House, with its addition upon addition, stood on West Main Street, on the site originally occupied by a little frame building erected in 1855. 5BIO 68.2

A few blocks away was 303 West Main Street, the home that Ellen White had owned and occupied before leaving for Australia. Deep in her heart, as she had thought of attending the General Conference session, she had hoped that she might arrange to stay in this home. But Dr. Kellogg's invitation to stay in his home had superseded all this. 5BIO 68.3

The Sanitarium was on North Washington Street. Its grounds covered a number of square blocks and reached down to Champion Street and took in the site of the home that the Whites had owned for many years and where many visions were given to Ellen White. 5BIO 68.4

Across from the Sanitarium was the college, the school that had been called into being by the visions. This school, which she and her husband had hoped would be located in the country on a large tract of land with opportunities for industry and agriculture, was crowded in on an eight-acre tract in the thickly populated West Battle Creek. 5BIO 68.5

On Wednesday night, March 27, she spoke at the Sanitarium to the guests and the helpers. Entering the spacious lobby where such meetings were held, she recognized in her audience friends of earlier years. But, of course, the larger part of the audience to which she was introduced was made up of strangers to her—the guests of the institution in its heyday. Now she was speaking: 5BIO 68.6

I am thankful to the Lord for the privilege of meeting my friends here once more, some of whom I have met before, many of whom I have never seen.—Manuscript 28, 1901. 5BIO 68.7

She talked of the love of Jesus, of the home being prepared for the faithful, and of our responsibility as Christians “not to disappoint the Saviour” (Ibid.). From this she turned to the importance of right living—healthful living. Her listeners noted that Christ was the central theme of her address. She reminded the workers and the guests that “God gives the physicians of this institution skill and efficiency because they are serving Him.”—Manuscript 28, 1901. 5BIO 69.1

She felt at perfect ease on such occasions addressing a high class of people who were not yet fully informed of the message that Seventh-day Adventists have for the world. She would address this group again. 5BIO 69.2

Thursday evening she spoke to those assembled at the publishers’ convention, which meeting was held in the Review and Herald chapel. Her mind turned to the forthcoming General Conference session and its importance. 5BIO 69.3

Regardless of how Ellen White may have spent the first few days after reaching Battle Creek, one thing is certain—she refrained from a great deal of visiting. “I was obliged,” she said, “to refuse to see many visitors, for private conversations were more taxing to me than public speaking.” This is followed by the observation: “As I stood before the people, I felt that I was leaning on a strong arm, which would support me. But when engaged in conversation with visitors, I had not this sense of special strength.... I was compelled to save my strength for the times when I must stand before the thousands of people assembled in the Tabernacle.”—Manuscript 29, 1902. 5BIO 69.4

This opportunity came the next Sabbath, March 30, her first Sabbath in Battle Creek in ten years, when she filled the Tabernacle pulpit for the Sabbath-morning service. Although the few days after arriving in Battle Creek may have given her a bit of respite, looking back several months later, she wrote: “From Chicago we went to Battle Creek, and here my labors began.”—Manuscript 29, 1902. 5BIO 69.5