The Kansas camp meeting of 1879 opened on Thursday, May 22, and was attended by about 300 believers (MS 5, 1879), some 30 of whom drove 200 miles (320 kilometers) in their wagons to attend. That day the wagons in the White caravan also drove onto the grounds. The weather was good, and there was a reasonably good attendance of the citizens of Emporia. Ellen White began her ministry the first day, joining her husband and J. O. Corliss. At the request of the General Conference, G. I. Butler was there, and on Friday reinforcements were present from Battle Creek. W. C. White was there in the interests of the Sabbath school work being developed in the state conferences, and Dr. J. H. Kellogg came, representing the health and temperance work and to assist in organizing a Health and Temperance Society in Kansas.
The American Health and Temperance Association had been formed in Battle Creek in January, with the intention of drawing Seventh-day Adventists together in an effective organization promoting both health and temperance. The Kansas camp meeting offered the first opportunity to launch the program in the field.