The Wedding of James White and Ellen Harmon

30 August 1846

On Sunday, August 30, 1846, James Springer White and Ellen Gould Harmon stood before Charles Harding, justice of the peace, in Portland, Maine, and were married. The marriage certificate, preserved through the years, is just a small slip of paper carrying a brief form and the signature of the one who officiated. Of their experience James White later wrote:

We were married August 30, 1846, and from that hour to the present she has been my crown of rejoicing. . . . It has been in the good providence of God that both of us had enjoyed a deep experience in the Advent movement. . . . This experience was now needed as we should join our forces and, united, labor extensively from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. . . .

We entered upon this work penniless, with few friends, and broken in health. Mrs. White has suffered ill health from a child, . . . and although I had inherited a powerful constitution, imprudence in study at school, and in lecturing . . . had made me a dyspeptic.

In this condition, without means, with very few who sympathized with us in our views, without a paper, and without books, we entered upon our work. We had no houses of worship at that time, and the idea of using a tent had not then occurred to us. Most of our meetings were held in private houses. Our congregations were small. It was seldom that any came into our meetings, excepting Adventists, unless they were attracted by curiosity to hear a woman speak (1LS, pp. 126, 127).

The Harmon home in Gorham became the first place of residence for the newlyweds.

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