Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White
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.
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, threw a stone that hit me on the nose. I was stunned by the blow, and fell senseless to the ground.
When consciousness returned, I found myself in a merchant's store. A kind stranger offered to take me home in his carriage, but I, not realizing my weakness, told him that I preferred to walk. Those present were not aware that my injury was so serious, and allowed me to go; 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.
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. A great cradle had been made for me, and in it I lay for many weeks. 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 with 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 gained strength very slowly. As I became able to join in play with my young friends, I was forced to learn the bitter lesson that our personal appearance often makes a difference in the treatment we receive from our companions.
My health seemed to be hopelessly impaired. For two years I could not breathe through my nose, and was able to attend school but little. It seemed impossible for me to study and to retain what I learned. The same girl who was the cause of my misfortune, was appointed monitor by our teacher, and it was among her duties to assist me in my writing and other lessons. She always seemed sincerely sorry for the great injury she had done me, although I was careful not to remind her of it. She was tender and patient with me, and seemed sad and thoughtful as she saw me laboring under serious disadvantages to get an education.
My nervous system was prostrated, and my hand trembled so that I made but little progress in writing, and could get no farther than the simple copies in coarse hand. As I endeavored to bend my mind to my studies, the letters in the page would run together, great drops of perspiration would stand upon my brow, and a faintness and dizziness would seize me. I had a bad cough, and my whole system seemed debilitated.
My teachers advised me to leave school, and not pursue my studies further till my health should improve. It was the hardest struggle of my young life to yield to my feebleness, and decide that I must leave my studies, and give up the hope of gaining an education.
(Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, pp. 13-15)