Treatment to relieve James's fever and pain was immediately ordered, and administered by a bath attendant from the sanitarium. After a short time copious perspiration appeared, and he was greatly relieved.
Ellen recounted their experience:
On Friday my symptoms were more favorable. The doctor then informed me that my husband was inclined to sleep, and that danger was apprehended. I was immediately taken to his room, and as soon as I looked upon his countenance I knew that he was dying.
I tried to arouse him. He understood all that was said to him, and responded to all questions that could be answered by Yes or No, but seemed unable to say more.
When I told him I thought he was dying, he manifested no surprise. I asked if Jesus was precious to him. He said, "Yes, oh, yes."
"Have you no desire to live?" I inquired. He answered, "No."
We then knelt by his bedside, and I prayed for my husband in that solemn hour. A peaceful expression rested upon his countenance. I said to him, "Jesus loves you. The everlasting arms are beneath you." He responded, "Yes, yes."
I wished to be certain that he recognized us, and I asked him to tell who we were. He said, "You are Ellen. You"ólooking at our eldest sonó"are Edson. I know you all."
Brother Smith and other brethren then prayed around his bedside, and retired to spend much of the night in prayer. My husband said he felt no pain; but he was evidently failing fast. Dr. Kellogg and his helpers did all that was in their power to hold him back from death. He slowly revived, but continued very weak. I remained with him through the night.
The next morning he took some nourishment, and seemed slightly to revive. About noon he had a chill, which left him unconscious, and he quietly breathed his life away, without a struggle or a groan. I was mercifully spared the anguish of seeing my husband in agony battling with death. The scene was as pleasant as it was possible for a deathbed to be (MS 6, 1881 [see also In Memoriam, pp. 52-54]).