With the coming of December, the family knew they would have to endure a winter in somewhat cramped quarters, and with the very slow recovery of James, there were days when he was so discouraged he thought he might not live. Ellen worked devotedly and untiringly in the care of her husband until she herself was in danger of a breakdown. She knew she could not keep up the program as it was at Dansville through the whole winter. Her thoughts turned to Battle Creek:
I thought of our large and convenient house at Battle Creek, with its high and airy rooms, and asked myself the question Would we not make more rapid progress toward health were we at our own home? I thought of the large reservoir of hot water upon our stoveóready for use at any timeóand our immense cistern of soft water, and our filter in the cellar, our various bathing pans, and bathroom fitted up with a stove.
But all these convenient things had but little weight in my mind compared with my anxiety to get my husband, while I could, among his tried brethren who knew him, and who had been benefited by his labors (RH, Feb. 27, 1866).