“The day has opened beautifully,” wrote Ellen White in her diary on the morning of January 1, 1896. “Eighteen hundred ninety-five has passed into eternity with its burden of record. A new year has opened upon us, and there are no changes we can make in the old year.”—Manuscript 61, 1896.

It was midsummer as the year opened in the Southern Hemisphere, and some of the days were oppressively hot. The land breeze seemed as from a furnace.

Work on the Sunnyside home was nearing completion, but the hammering, sawing, and painting were not conducive to writing.

W. C. White, in writing to O. A. Olsen on January 19, described the Sunnyside residence as constructed so it could eventually serve as an office building for Ellen White’s staff:

Mother’s house, when completed, will contain eleven rooms. The main building is 32 x 32, with a veranda in the front, and a hall running through the center. There are four rooms about 12 x 12, and upstairs there are four more nearly as large. Back of the main building there is a lean-to, 14 x 22, intended for a kitchen. This much of the house is plastered and therefore will be quite cool and comfortable. Mother decides to use the back room for a dining room, and so is having an addition 16 x 22 feet attached to the dining room, which will be divided up into a kitchen, bathroom, and storeroom. We expect the carpenters to complete their work this week, then we shall get settled.

Her often repeated resolutions to have a small cottage and to live


somewhat in isolation was largely wishful thinking for her literary work demanded that she be surrounded with helpers, and she must provide for their housing and working space.

The Contented Working Family at Sunnyside

In a letter to Miss Emily Campbell, W. C. White described the situation at Sunnyside:

Mother is comfortably located in her new house, and has the best corps of workers that has ever been grouped around her.

Sister Davis is working on the “Life of Christ,” and smaller books which will come out in connection with it. Sister Burnham is working on Christian Temperance, and articles for the papers. Sister Maggie Hare is working on letters and articles for the papers. Sister May Israel divides her time between bookkeeping and copying for Miss Davis. Sister Belden is housekeeper, with Edith Ward as assistant. Sister Lucas is dressmaker, and Minnie Hawkins has just begun regular work as copyist for Miss Burnham, and to learn other lines of the work. Brother M. A. Cornell is man of all work, with Edgar Hollingsworth as assistant and chore boy.

Mother is getting along nicely with her book work, and I am more and more thankful that she is located in a quiet place, where she will not be so much interrupted as heretofore.

She closely watched agricultural developments. As summer wore on, she was able to write on February 3 of the garden, which she reported was doing well. She added:

We have the testimony that with care taken of the trees and vegetables in the dry season, we shall have good results. Our trees are doing well.... I can testify by experience that false witness has been borne of this land. On the school ground, they have tomatoes, squashes, potatoes, and melons.... We know the land will do well with proper care.

There was also the flower garden. On February 10 she got up at half past four, and at five o’clock was at work “spading up the ground and preparing to set out my flowers. I worked one hour

alone, then Edith Ward and Ella May White united with me, and we planted our flowers.”—Manuscript 62, 1896. Then followed the setting out of twenty-eight tomato plants. The bell ringing for morning prayers and breakfast brought these activities to a close. In her diary she wrote: “I think I have received no harm from my vigorous exercise, but feel better for the work done.” She added, “After breakfast I read manuscript—two short chapters on the life of Christ.”—Ibid. In fact, she was devoting a good deal of time to her last reading of the finished chapters that would soon be sent to the publishers. The next morning she was in the orchard, “tying up the trees. A tuft of grass is put between the stake and the trees so that the tree shall not be marred.”

4BIO 260-261