When the camp meeting season of 1881 opened, James gave out word through the Review (May 24, 1881) that "Mrs. White is not in a condition of health to go the rounds of camp meetings as in years past."
But in spite of her physical weakness and injured ankle she attempted to attend the Michigan camp meeting, which began June 1 at Spring Arbor. Arriving on the grounds she felt pressed for breath and too ill to go on, so stopped with an Adventist family near the campgound. Early Sabbath morning James went to the grounds alone. Ellen prayed with Brother Weed's family and God gave her the strength to go to the meeting and spoke to the congregation.
A few days later God called Ellen to go to the Iowa camp meeting. Here she urged the brethren to vote on the subject of prohibition.
From Iowa James and Ellen White went to the Wisconsin camp meeting. It was their plan to attend the Minnesota meeting also, but division of feelings between Butler and Haskell on the one hand and James White on the other led the Whites to withdraw and hasten back from Wisconsin to Battle Creek.