Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White
Note: Since criticisms about Ellen White's life are dealt with elsewhere on this site,
we here simply let her tell in her own words her life story.—WebMaster
Chapter 1: My Childhood
An Unfortunate Childhood Accident
I was born at Gorham, Maine, November 26, 1827. My parents,
Robert and Eunice Harmon, were for many years residents of this
state. In early life they became earnest and devoted members
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In that church they held prominent
connection, and labored for the conversion of sinners, and to
build up the cause of God, for a period of forty years. During
this time they had the joy of seeing their children, eight in
number, all converted and gathered into the fold of Christ. Their
decided second advent views, however, led to the separation of
the family from the Methodist Church in the year 1843.
While I was but a child, my parents removed from Gorham to Portland, Maine. Here, at the age of nine years, an accident happened to me which was to affect
my whole life. In company with my twin sister and one of our schoolmates, I was crossing a common in the city of Portland, when a girl about thirteen years of
age, becoming angry at some trifle, followed us, threatening to strike us. Our parents had taught us never to contend with anyone, but if we were in danger of
being abused or injured, to hasten home at once. We were doing this with all speed, but the girl followed us as rapidly, with a stone in her hand. I turned my
head to see how far she was behind me, and as I did so, she threw the stone, and it hit me on the nose. I was stunned by the blow and fell senseless to the
|Bracket Street School in Portland, Maine, where
Ellen White attended school as a child.—White Estate.
When consciousness returned, I found myself in a merchant's store; my garments were covered with blood, which was pouring from my nose and streaming
over the floor. A kind stranger offered to take me home in his carriage, but I, not realizing my weakness, told him that I preferred to walk home rather than soil
his carriage with blood. Those present were not aware that my injury was so serious, and allowed me to do as I wished; but after walking only a few rods, I
grew faint and dizzy. My twin sister and my schoolmate carried me home.
I have no recollection of anything further for some time after the accident. My mother said that I noticed nothing, but lay in a stupor for three weeks. No one but
herself thought it possible for me to recover; but for some reason she felt that I would live. A kind neighbor, who had been very much interested in my behalf,
at one time thought me to be dying. She wished to purchase a burial robe for me, but my mother said, Not yet; for something told her that I would not die.
When I again aroused to consciousness, it seemed to me that I had been asleep. I did not remember the accident, and was ignorant of the cause of my illness. As
I began to gain a little strength, my curiosity was aroused by overhearing those who came to visit me say: "What a pity!" "I should not have known her," etc. I
asked for a looking glass, and upon gazing into it, was shocked at the change in my appearance. Every feature of my face seemed changed. The bones of my
nose had been broken, which caused this disfigurement.
The thought of carrying my misfortune through life was insupportable. I could see no pleasure in my existence. I did not wish to live, and yet feared to die, for I
was unprepared. Friends who visited us looked with pity upon me, and advised my parents to prosecute the father of the girl who had, as they said, ruined me.
But my mother was for peace; she said that if such a course would bring me back my health and natural looks, there would be something gained; but as this was impossible, it was best not to
make enemies by following such advice.
Physicians thought that a silver wire might be put in my nose to hold it in shape. This would have been very painful, and they feared it would be of little use, as
I had lost so much blood and sustained such a nervous shock, that my recovery was very doubtful. Even if I revived, it was their opinion that I could live but a
short time. I was reduced almost to a skeleton.
At this time I began to pray the Lord to prepare me for death. When Christian friends visited the family, they would ask my mother if she had talked to me
about dying. I overheard this, and it roused me. I desired to become a Christian, and prayed earnestly for the forgiveness of my sins. I felt a peace of mind
resulting, and loved everyone, feeling desirous that all should have their sins forgiven and love Jesus as I did.
I well remember one night in winter when the snow was on the ground, the heavens were lighted up, the sky looked red and angry, and seemed to open and
shut, while the snow looked like blood. The neighbors were very much frightened. Mother took me out of bed in her arms and carried me to the window. I was
happy; I thought Jesus was coming, and I longed to see Him. My heart was full; I clapped my hands for joy, and thought my sufferings were ended. But I was
disappointed; the singular appearance faded away from the heavens, and the next morning the sun rose the same as usual.
(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 11-13)