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    6 WESTERN ITINERARY

    The Sabbath following the Vergennes meeting, Elder Cornell and I met with the little company at Grand Rapids. We were told that a steamer crossed Lake Michigan from Grand River to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, so we planned to cross, taking our horse and carriage, and labor among the scattered brethren in the West.MML 33.1

    On Monday we started for the mouth of the Grand River on the Lake Michigan shore. Thinking to make the distance in half a day, we did not take much food, but to our dismay we had a forty-mile drive. After eating our meager lunch we became hungry by two o’clock. While passing through a grove of pine trees, we came upon a half-acre thickly covered with wintergreen plants. What a sight of berries we could pluck by the handful! This find well supplied our lack of food.MML 33.2

    Toward evening we stopped at a hotel by the lakeside and there learned that the steamer did not run to Milwaukee but to Chicago. We made the trip in about twenty hours, landing on the west side of the Chicago River on Wednesday in mud a foot deep. Our fine horse had been terrified all the way across due to the noise of the steam and machinery, and would neither eat nor drink while on the boat. After pulling us and the carriage a half-mile through the mud, he was able to rest on higher ground and feed on prairie grass while we replanned our tour.MML 33.3

    The nearest point of meeting any of our people was Alden, two days journey from Chicago. On Friday, the day we were to reach Brother Chapman’s in Alden, as we turned aside to feed our horse, stretched before us was a great mass of large, ripe, wild strawberries. We filled our 12-quart water bucket with berries, then pulled them up by the stems, tying up large clusters. This was a feast for us and the Chapmans for the three days we were at their home.MML 33.4

    Elder Cornell and I had the names of the persons in Wisconsin who were keeping the Sabbath and reading the Review, and it was our purpose to call upon them all. On the next Sabbath we visited Brother and Sister Brown in Beloit, and the following Sabbath met with the few believers in Madison at the home of Brother Turner. Though the number was small we held meetings and had an interesting time. About all the reading matter we had for our people at that time was the eight-page Review every two weeks, the monthly Youth’s Instructor, a few pamphlets and Mrs. White’s Experience & Views.MML 33.5

    After visits with other isolated believers, we came to Koshkonong where there was a company of twenty, the largest number of any one place in the state. We had the name of the most prominent one among them, and as we neared the settlement we inquired for him. Finally we saw a man in a cornfield near the road. Elder Cornell said, “I am going to ask that man the question asked in the Apocrypha of the Old Testament.”MML 34.1

    First he inquired for the home of Milton Southwick. The man said, “He lives in the second house from here.” Elder Cornell then asked, “Has righteousness that maketh a man righteous been through this land?”MML 34.2

    “Yes!” the man replied. “There are a few of us here who are trying to keep all the Commandments of God. Are you not the brethren from the East of whom we read in the Review who are coming to Wisconsin?”MML 34.3

    The man was Elder Phelps, leader of their company. Here we spent several days speaking to them and neighbors who ventured in. On learning we would come back that way on our trip to Illinois, they promised to seat a grove for a meeting on our return.MML 34.4

    We were especially anxious to meet J. H. Waggoner, former editor of a county paper, who had accepted the truth and begun to preach. He had been active among the Baptists. He lived at Packwaukee, a day’s journey farther north. When we reached there we learned he was holding a series of meetings another day’s journey to the west. T. M. Steward of Packwaukee, who had begun to keep the Sabbath, piloted us with his horse and carriage to the place of Waggoner’s labors. When we arrived, we found him suffering with granulated eyelids, and so we filled his appointments for him. Then we went still farther north to Metomen to meet J.M. Stephenson and D. P. Hall, two active First-day Adventist ministers who had just taken their stand for the Sabbath. We held a week’s meetings so that they might be more fully instructed in the truth.MML 34.5

    From this point we began our journey south with Waggoner, Stephenson, and Hall accompanying us as far as Koshkonong. About halfway there lived a devoted brother and his wife who were anxious that their town have opportunity to hear “The United States in Prophecy.” The men accompanying us had no faith we would have a congregation and voted that I should speak. To our surprise the schoolhouse was packed. As we journeyed on the next day, these brethren complained that I had taken all the time and not given them a chance to speak.MML 35.1

    After the grove meeting at Koshkonong, Stephenson and Hall returned home, and Elder Cornell and I expected to go that night to the home of Stephen Bragg, some 12 miles over an unfamiliar road. A brother who lived only a mile off the road had a request from his ten-year-old son who was suffering from a severe fever, that we stop and have prayer for him. The man said, “My boy says that if you will come and pray for him, he will be well.” We told the man we did not see how we could turn off the road that distance and still reach Brother Bragg’s before dark. After we started out on what we supposed to be the right road, we found our way blocked by a gate, and the brother’s house just inside the gate. He rushed out and exclaimed, “We are so glad you decided to come!” The facts were we were so busy talking, the horse had taken the wrong road. We had prayers for the boy, and just as his faith had claimed, he was instantly healed of his fever. We were able to complete our journey before dark.MML 35.2

    Brother Chapman at Alden had seated a grove near his house for a two-day meeting and had thoroughly advertised. The Seventh-day Baptist minister of Big Foot Prairie cancelled his appointments and brought his whole church for the meetings.MML 35.3

    At that time the country was open Prairie, and no fenced roads, so we had to keep our course to Shabbona Grove sixty miles farther south by sighting some distant object, then making for that object. After spending two days here with a devoted couple, we journeyed to Sullivan Heath’s at Barron Grove where we held meetings in a shed between two cribs of corn. With our charts hung upon the cribs we instructed the Heath family as though we had a large audience.MML 35.4

    Then we went on to Brother Lock’s at Salem, Indiana, where they prepared a grove for meetings which were well attended. Just before sundown on Sunday, we baptized eight souls. After the congregation separated and I was about to change clothing, Brother Bodly requested, “I can’t have you brethren leave without taking my stand. Will you go back in the stream and baptize me?” I consented, and in the shades of the evening baptized this earnest soul. The Lord greatly blessed us as we stood alone in the stream.MML 36.1

    From Indiana, Elder Cornell and I continued on to Plymouth, Michigan. Toward the last of the trip, as I stepped from the carriage, I hit the first finger of my left hand hard against the tire of the wheel, which resulted in a severe infection. When we reached Plymouth that finger was as large as three, and my arm swollen to the shoulder. In such misery I could not sleep nights. At Plymouth I received a letter from my wife stating that she and Drusilla Orton had been visiting the Woodhulls with whom they were formerly acquainted in Rochester, and they were anxious for me to stop at their home in Olcott, N.Y. They met me at Lockport and I returned with them. They wished a meeting in Olcott at once. I explained, “With this terrible infection I have not slept for two nights.”MML 36.2

    Sister Woodhull said, “Give out the appointment. We will pray and the Lord will heal you.” This was done, and sure enough, all the pain ceased, the swelling subsided, and the core came out of the boil before time for the next evening’s appointment.MML 36.3

    My wife and Mrs. Orton had faithfully presented the truth to the Woodhull family but they had not made a decision to obey. One morning Mrs. Woodhull asked them, “If this is all true that you’ve been telling me, and is really the last message, why is there not someone having visions as Joel’s prophecy mentions?”MML 36.4

    All we had of Sister White’s writings then was Experiences and Views. They handed her a copy saying, “Sister Woodhull, we will do your work while you read this.”MML 36.5

    She sat in another room and read while they worked. She would read and sigh and wipe tears from her eyes. She said not a word until she had completed the book. “That settles it!” she exclaimed. “I am satisfied now. I shall keep the Sabbath.” They remained faithful the rest of their lives and both lived to be over seventy years of age.MML 36.6

    Since the Michigan believers wished me to live and labor in their state, we left New York on November 1, with a stop-over at Milan, Ohio. But such interest was awakened in Huron and Seneca counties, we could not leave Ohio until May, 1854.MML 37.1

    On May 18 and 19, we held meetings in a schoolhouse at Locke, Michigan. Such a crowd came that two schoolhouses that size could not have held them. In the emergency we took out a window and improvised a pulpit in the empty space so we could speak to all the people, inside and outside, seated in their carriages and on the grass.MML 37.2

    The sight of this large assembly led to conversation the next day as to the feasibility of holding tent meetings. As we traveled to Sylvan, Elder White suggested that by another year we might venture the use of a tent. “Why not have one at once?” Elder Cornell urged. The more we talked the more we were impressed to do so.MML 37.3

    On arriving at C. S. Glover’s about noon on the 22nd, Elder White explained to him what we thought of doing. He asked what the tent would cost. When he was told that $200 would deliver it to Jackson, he handed Elder White $35 saying, “This is what I think of it.”MML 37.4

    By late afternoon we reached Jackson and saw Brethren Smith, Palmer, and J. P. Kellogg. Each of these expressed his opinion in the same manner as had Brother Glover, with the exception of Brother Kellogg who promised to lend us all that was lacking to purchase it. Near sunset of that day, Elders White, Cornell and I retired to a grove and laid the matter before the Lord in earnest prayer. At noon of May 23, Elder Cornell started for Rochester to purchase of E. C. Williams the first meeting tent ever used by Seventh-day Adventists.MML 37.5

    In the evening of the same day, Elder White and his wife were to take the train for Wisconsin. After seeing Elder Cornell off on his train, we spent the afternoon at D. R. Palmer’s near the railroad station. As it neared the time to take the train, Elder White began to pace the floor in a solemn mood. “I feel strangely about this trip,” he remarked. “If we had not made an appointment, I would not take the train.” He asked that we have a season of prayer for their safety. When we arose from prayer, Elder White said, “We will go trusting in the Lord.”MML 37.6

    At 9 p.m. I went onto the train with them to assist with their hand luggage. We went into a car with high-back seats, called in those days a “sleeping car.” Mrs. White hesitated, “James, I cannot stay in this car.” But these were the seats she usually preferred. I then assisted in getting them into the last car on the train.” As Sister White took her seat she remarked, “I do not feel right on this train.” She did not even put up her handbag in the rack for such parcels. The car bell rang, and I bade them goodbye and went to spend the night at Smith’s in West Jackson.MML 38.1

    About ten o’clock we were all much surprised to hear Elder White, whom we supposed was well on the way to Chicago, knocking for admittance. He told us the train had run off the track three miles west of Jackson; that most of the train was a total wreck, but while a number had been killed, he and his wife had escaped injury. He soon secured a horse and carriage, and in company with Abram Dodge, went for Mrs. White who he had previously carried across a marsh to a place of safety.MML 38.2

    Early the next morning I went with Mr. Dodge to view the wreck. At a point where the road crossed the track obliquely, an ox had lain down directly on the track. The engine had no cow-catcher, and was thrown from the track. The baggage car, containing Elder White’s trunk of books, jumped entirely clear from the tracks undamaged. At the same time, the passenger car at the rear of the train was uncoupled without human aid and stopped on the track. As we viewed the wreck, we felt in our hearts that God sent His angel to uncouple the car. The brakeman said he did not uncouple it, that no one was on the platform when it occurred, and that it was a mystery to all the trainmen. Even more mysterious to them, the link and the bolt were both unbroken, and the bolt with its chain was lying on the platform of the wrecked car as though placed there by a careful hand. By the evening of the 24th, the track was cleared and the Whites made a safe passage to their Wisconsin appointments.MML 38.3

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