But it took a heavy toll on James. James and Ellen had looked forward to a little period of rest on returning from Iowa but were denied this, as they were called upon to contend with criticism and falsehoods. Then they faced an appointment with the church in Memphis, Michigan, across the state, just north of Detroit. A debt hung over the meetinghouse, and the members were discouraged. James White's presence was urged. Ellen White described the journey:
When the time came to attend our appointment in Memphis, we needed rest of body and mind. A constant strain had been upon us for months. . . . Yet we urged up our exhausted energies, arose at midnight,walked about a mile to the depot, and stepped on board the train which was to take us to Detroit. . . . The meetings in Memphis were those of labor. Myhusband here performed the amount of labor which was sufficient for two men who possessed a good degree of strength. His vital energies were exceedingly depressed, yet his zeal in the cause of God urged him on presumptuously to exhaust, by overlabor, the little strength that remained.
Our meetings closed on Sunday evening after eleven o'clock. We retired after midnight, and arose at daybreak to take the stage for the cars [train]. The cars missed connection, and we did not arrive at our home till past midnight.
My husband slept but little, and would not be prevailed upon to rest the next day. He thought his business required his presence at the office. Night found him exhausted. His sleep was broken and unrefreshing, yet we rose in the morning at five o'clock to take our usual walk before breakfast (RH, Feb. 20, 1866).