On their trip to California in the summer of 1872, James and Ellen decided to visit Ellen's older sister, Caroline Clough, who lived in Ottawa, Kansas. After spending a few days there, they visited Ellen's two nieces, Mrs. Walling and Miss Mary L. Clough, in Denver, Colorado.
It was Mr. Walling's business to furnish lumber for the houses, and timbers for the mines in this region. Walling's Mills, near Black Hawk, was not in a steep ravine but in an expansive area above. Here was a cottage that he made available to the White party, and here they lived, read, wrote, and took their walks.
Mr. Walling proposed a trip over the Snowy Range. So they put off the journey to California and planned the trip with Mr. Walling.