Ellen G. White Writings

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Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2), Page 59

Chapter 5—(1863) The White Family Escapes to the East

When the White family settled in the little cottage on Wood Street in Battle Creek in 1857, there was forest to the north and pasturelands to the west. This gave promise of a quiet retreat and a wholesome atmosphere for rearing the family. Soon, however, the Michigan Fair Association secured considerable acreage almost adjoining the White property and built a racetrack for trotting horses. As the war came on, this proved to be an excellent training ground for recruits in the Union Army. The activities on the fairgrounds came to be of special interest to the teenage boys. W.C. White later recalled.

The nearest neighbors to the south were the Jonah Lewis family, devout Adventists. While the White and Lewis families were noncombatants, the children took a lively interest in the war. The two younger Lewis boys, 16 and 18 years of age, and the two older White boys, 12 and 14, got hold of wartime songs and many a sunny afternoon sat on the fence and practiced, “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are Marching” and “We Are Coming, Father Abraham.” They all had good voices, and I, about 7, was an admiring audience, and sat on the grass to listen.

My brothers went as far as they could in supplying themselves with warlike instruments. They built good bows and arrows with which they shot troublesome birds. They were good whistlers, but wanted a drum, so they bought two cheese boxes, knocking out the heads, putting the rims together, paper inside and out. They secured a sheepskin, took the wool off, and made rawhide heads.

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