The Fannie Bolton Story


Letter 114, 1897, entire letter. (To Bro. and Sr. Tenney, July 1, 1897.)

I have been reading your letter. Thank-you for writing in response to my letter. I should have written to you at first, but I thought that if Fannie would show repentance, I would be pleased to have her soul saved if possible. I do not read her articles at all, but my attention was called to the articles in the Instructor and the Review by one who understood the articles in the Review perfectly. [See The Review and Herald, April 13-May 11, 1897.] FBS 78.2

In them she has represented the family of McKenzie. The mild Miss Ashbury is Miss Fannie Bolton. Mr. and Mrs. Morehouse are Bro. McKenzie and his wife, who live in Parramatta. The representation that Fannie gives of Miss Ashbury is, I suppose, exactly her estimate of herself. In this romance she has represented herself as having a perfection of character that she has never revealed in connection with that family or any family where she has been an inmate. FBS 78.3

False ideas are traced in this story. Fannie did have a room in the hired home of Bro. and Sr. McKenzie, and the rent from this helped them in a time of their great poverty; but everything in this story is exaggerated. She has had some threads to use in making out this story, but the main history was transacted at Ashfield, where the first camp meeting was held in New South Wales. At that camp meeting some of these things did take place, and those who are familiar with the facts will recognize the ones meant. Should McKenzie get hold of the paper, as I have no doubt he will, there would be one of the greatest commotions that could take place; for Bro. and Sister McKenzie are both sensitive and proud. FBS 78.4

He did become tempted. We had Bro. Belden move his family and furniture from Parramatta to the Ashfield campground. I helped them by giving them clothing, milk, fruit, and money. Bro. McKenzie became displeased with Bro. Caldwell, because Bro. Caldwell was put in as Elder of the church, while Bro. McKenzie was not put into office. FBS 78.5

W. C. White and Emily Campbell found Bro. McKenzie in work. His daughter, Julia, is a fine, nice girl, but Julia is represented as being married. She is not. Emily Campbell and I paid Julia’s carfare to and from the city, and she and Emily attended a school where shorthand was taught. At this time Caldwell was working the typewriter for Fannie, and I felt that matters were not going right. I was warned in a dream, and I talked with both of them, telling them that it was not right for them to be together. FBS 78.6

I talked with McKenzie about this matter, and he said that Caldwell’s coming to his home at all times of the day and in the evening was working up a scandal. Well, we met with much opposition from both Fannie and Caldwell. They said that McKenzie had no sense or reason for his evil surmisings. But the burden was laid heavily upon me, and I told them it could not be thus any longer. There was my parlor, Willie’s office; they could write in that; for Willie was away, either in Melbourne or New Zealand. FBS 78.7

Well, this familiarity continued. I told Caldwell that I could not have him connected with my work. He told me that there was nothing between him and Fannie, and yet the warning kept coming, “She is your adversary.” My burden was very great; for I had not rest in spirit. The poor man, McKenzie, took to smoking and drinking, and I think they had a hard time of it. Fannie was then away at Cooranbong. FBS 79.1

The work between Fannie and Bro. Caldwell was begun at the Melbourne camp meeting. There she became enamored of a married man with two children. She utterly denied that there was any affection between her and Bro. Caldwell. She stood before me in my tent, and declared that there was nothing to the reports. For one year after this, she was good for nothing to me, only a dead, heavy load. FBS 79.2

The warning from God kept coming, and finally at the Armadale camp meeting matters came to a head. Fannie claimed to make most of my books. Both at the Ashfield and Armadale camp meetings she was inspired by Satan. While at the Brighton camp meeting her course of action was anything that what a Christian’s should be. And after the camp meeting I cut loose from her. I discharged her. We had a very serious time, but she begged and wrote so humbly, that I forgave her, and foolishly tried her again. She was taken back, and given another trial. FBS 79.3

When living at Preston, I told her that I could never have her in my home to live with me again. At the Brighton camp meeting she told the Malcolm family, who had recently come to the faith, that she had to make my books herself. She said that Sr. White did not know how to write, or put two sentences together, that she was a very ignorant woman, and that her, Fanny Bolton’s, talent supplied her lack. FBS 79.4

Fannie begged to go to the Armadale camp meeting, saying that she would do my writing, and not take up the children’s meetings; but she did not keep her word. One short article, I think, she prepared for me. There was at this time an advertisement in one of the papers regarding one of my books. When Fannie noticed this advertisement, which spoke of Prof. Prescott compiling the book, she vehemently declared with wild gesticulations, that it was a lie. She was all broken up, and declared to Sara [McEnterfer] that she had done the work herself, and now Prof. Prescott was taking the glory of it. But Sister Prescott had been told Fannie’s story at Cooranbong, and she could see things in their true bearing. In talking with Sister Prescott, Fannie claimed to be the author of some sentence in this book which they thought was very beautiful. But when she made this assertion, Sr. Prescott told her that she knew better, because she had a letter from Sister White, in her own handwriting, which contained the same sentence. If Sister Prescott is in Battle Creek you may talk with her in regard to this, and she will be able to tell you just how it was. FBS 79.5

I had a letter written to Dr. Kellogg, which Fannie saw lying on my table as she came into my room. In this letter she saw her own name. She called Sara into another room, and told her that she had seen a letter addressed to Dr. Kellogg on Sr. White’s table, and that in this letter she saw her name. She then asked Sara to get this letter and give it to her, so that she might see what Sister White was writing about her to Dr. Kellogg. Sara faced her, and asked, “What do you take me for? Do you think I have come all the way from America to do that sort of work?” Fannie insisted that Sara should get the letter for her, but Sara declared that she would do no such thing. For this time Fannie seemed to have but little confidence in Sara. FBS 79.6

I have told you these things that you may understand about the matter. We had the affair between Fannie and Caldwell all through the Armadale camp meeting. I talked with them both separately, and told them that the Lord had a controversy with them both. They denied that there was anything like particular attachment between them. I knew better; but the Lord helped me to work through the meeting. Just before the meeting closed, Fannie came to me, and said, “O Sr. White, I have come to you as to a mother. I do love Bro. Caldwell with all my heart, and my heart is just broken. Three times has this cup of bliss been presented to me, and then been snatched away.” Then the girl said, “I prayed that if it was right for us to get married, his wife might get a divorce from him, and it was not many weeks before she did get a divorce. Now don’t you think the Lord heard my prayer?” I dared not talk with her; for I had to speak that day before a large congregation. If Sr. Prescott is in Battle Creek, she will be able to tell you the particulars. FBS 80.1

Well, from that time I cut loose from Fannie, never, as I thought, to connect with her again. But a little while after this, Fannie was in Sydney, and wrote me another confession. I thought that I could not take her back, but the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and said, “Give her another trial.” So I decided that I would see Fannie, and tell her that I would take her back. This I did, and she remained with me several weeks, but was not able to do any work; and then she decided that she wanted to go home to her mother, and I told her that she might feel free to do so. And now after all the suffering and distress that I have passed through because of the actions of these two, and the downright lies they told, to have Fannie Bolton put these articles in the paper, exalting her poor, miserable, blind, poverty-stricken soul, Miss Ashbury is a little too large a mouthful for me to swallow. It tastes strong of the dish. If I can find them, I will send you copies of letters written to both Fannie and Caldwell. FBS 80.2