“Anxious to Hear from You”: Ellen White Writes to Her Husband

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“Anxious to Hear from You”: Ellen White Writes to Her Husband

Ellen White penned this letter to her husband, James, while he was away on a multi-week ministry trip. She began the letter on Oct. 22, 1860, though there’s no reference to the “Great Disappointment” on that date 16 years earlier. The Whites lived in Battle Creek, Michigan, where James headed the Adventist publishing company, a.k.a. “the office.” Ellen continued her ministry of writing and speaking while raising four boys, including a not-yet-named infant.

Dear Husband:

As there is a box going to you, thought I would pen a few lines. My health is improving. The children are well and obedient. We shall keep help if we can get it for a few weeks. Help is scarce. The little nameless one is fat and rugged, and very quiet, has not had a cold yet.

Bro. Frisbie has moved back to the Creek and rented the Towser house.

I am troubled with the neuralgia in my jaws.

For a few days past, I have realized the mercy and goodness of God in sparing my life. I feel like devoting myself unreservedly to God. We have had some melting, earnest seasons of prayer for an earnest of our acceptance with God. I have deep feeling for our children and we have had good freedom in praying for you. We believe the Lord will sustain you and give you of His free Spirit.

October 24. I must send this today. I am getting along as fast as can be expected. Have had no pull-backs yet. Come up very slow. The baby is five weeks old tomorrow, a fat, hearty fellow. He takes so much nursing, I am very hungry most of the time. Appetite good. The children are all well. No ague. I received a letter from Bro. Abbey’s family yesterday; all well. Sister Abbey writes very affectionately. Lucinda is well and they were all overjoyed to see her at home.

Father and Mother Harmon would go into Thomas Meade’s house immediately if they could get it for fifty cents a week until a tenant is found that will occupy it. What do you think? Write and tell me. I thought it might be well for them to get by themselves if possible. They have said nothing to me about the matter yet.

Brother Benedict’s family are settled. They pay fifty cents this winter and seventy-five in the summer. They have rented their place. Sister Frisbie is soon to have an addition to her family. There seems to be a general increase in the families of ministers.

Bro. and Sister Benedict spent Monday evening with me. It was a pleasant interview. Next week shall get Bro. Kellogg’s horse and get Stephen to give me a ride. He can help me in and out [of] the wagon better than any one. I think it would strengthen me much to ride out and take the air. We have just weighed the yet nameless one. He weighs twelve pounds and a half, good weight.

The children are doing well; are quite steady; are not perfect—this we do not expect of children.

We have received letters and names from Noah Lunt of Portland. Brother Foy has written to know if you are to employ John in the office after his two years are up.

George was in this morning and says they have been looking for a line from you for some days. All those books concerning Uriah and Harriet are yet in the office. He wishes to know whom to send them to. And he says [there are] other things you promised to direct about. I have just sent Edson in to Grandpa to get measured for a pair of boots. I do not feel willing for him to go with poor boots and shoes and get a cough on him.

It looks like a long, long time before you return home, but we know you will feel as anxious to get home as we are to have you. We pray for you and believe that the Lord will prosper you on your journey. If you would write what times you would be at different places, I should like it because I can then sometimes send two letters to a place. Write me often. I am anxious to hear from you.

Yours affectionately.

—Letter 11, 1860

(Photo: The earliest known photo of James and Ellen White, around 1857, from the Ellen G. White Estate.)

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About the author

Ellen G. White

Ellen G. White (1827-1915), a cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. She was more than a gifted writer; she was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world's attention to the Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ's second advent. Read her writings at ellenwhite.org.