Soon after this the Whites were invited to attend a conference at Volney, New York, in August 1848. They had no money for travel, so James was glad to find an opportunity to earn means by cutting hay on nearby farms. To his friend Stockbridge Howland at Topsham he wrote on July 2:
I mow five days for unbelievers and Sunday for believers and rest on the seventh day, therefore I have but very little time to write. My health is good, God gives me strength to labor hard all day. I have mowed eight days right off and felt hardly a pain. Brother Holt, Brother John Belden, and I have taken 100 acres [41 hectares] of grass to mow at 8712 cents per acre [.41 hectare] and board ourselves. Praise the Lord. I hope to get a few dollars here to use in the cause of God (JW to S. Howland, July 2, 1848).
That summer James White earned $40 in the hayfield. He used part of the money for needed clothing for the family and part for travel to western New York State.