Ellen G. White Writings

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The Genealogy of Ellen G. White, Page 3


Prepared by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FASG for The Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, Maryland

Mr. Joslyn opens his report by quoting five excerpts from a book that challenges Ellen White’s previously documented Anglo-Saxon ancestry.

When James S. White and Ellen Gould Harmon married about 1848, they suddenly realized their marriage placed them under an old law which forbade Whites to marry Coloreds and in less than ten years, they found themselves gravitating toward the Ohio Colony where mulattoes had settled. [p. 13]

James White along with his mulatto wife, Ellen White also moved westward to Saratoga, to Rochester, New York to Ohio on onward to Battle Creek, Michigan where they lived among the Colored people. [p. 12]

[Ellen] could relate with the plight of the mulatto and slave groups for these were her people. [p. 13]

In Battle Creek, memorials are being erected in honor of two great women, Harriet Tubman and SoJourner Truth. It would be proper to have another erected in honor of another great African-American woman, Ellen Gould Harmon White. [p. 13]

Eunice Gould Harmon, Ellen’s mother was a mulatto; whose roots can be traced to New Jersey and the Caribbean. The roots of Robert Harmon, her father, were of the African/Moor/Nanticoke Indian and English Colored people living on the Eastern Shores of Delaware. [p. 33]

The above are just a few quotes from an interesting book published in 1999—The Genealogy of Ellen Gould Harmon White: The Prophetess of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Story of the Growth and Development of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination As It Relates to African-Americans.Book Two 1Endnotes The quotes are from the pages of this work indicated in brackets at the end of each. In the first quote, the author presumably meant the State of Ohio. The work is filled with many historical inaccuracies, but pointing them all out is not the purpose of this paper. (Nashville, Tenn.: Dudley Publishing Services). According to its author, Charles Edward Dudley, Sr., D.D., L.L.D., pastor of the First Seventh-day Adventist Church in Shelbyville, Tennessee, Ellen Gould (Harmon) White was descended from or at least related to five Gould brothers who “came from the Dutch West Indies and settled near Salem, New Jersey,” by the mid-1680s. They established a settlement that became known as Gouldtown, just east of present-day Bridgeton in Cumberland County. Dr. Dudley follows only descendants of one brother, Benjamin, who is supposed to have married Elizabeth Ann Adams, a granddaughter of John Fenwick, an English soldier-turned-Quaker and founder of the Salem colony. 2Charles Edward Dudley, Sr., D.D., L.L.D., The Genealogy of Ellen Gould Harmon White: The Prophetess of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Story of the Growth and Development of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination As It Relates to African-Americans. Book Two (Nashville, Tenn.: Dudley Publishing Services, 1999), 21, 41—42, hereafter Dudley, Genealogy of Ellen White.

Dr. Dudley’s study of the ancestry of Ellen White, and more specifically her possible connection to persons of color, developed from a curiosity about her background that has “been discussed for years,” although the “limited genealogical research which has been done on both her father’s and mother’s side of the family has not shown any such ancestry.” The interest in Ellen’s background derives from photographs of her, showing what some have called “ambiguous” features: “‘Mrs. White’s features often raise the question of whether she had any Black or Indian ancestry.’” 3Dudley, Genealogy of Ellen White, 18, quoting Adventist Heritage Magazine, Spring 1982. The emphasis in the quote is probably Dr. Dudley’s.

Throughout his book, Dr. Dudley has tried to establish Ellen White’s descent from or blood relationship to the Gouldtown settlers. Besides presenting information about the Gould family of that area, he has tried to support his claim of Ellen’s connection with the Gouldtown Goulds with

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