James White was known quite well across the land, not only as one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Churchóa church that had grown to 17,000 in his lifetimeóbut also as an astute businessman managing large publishing interests and closely connected with the educational and medical interests in Battle Creek. He was highly esteemed by the Honorable George Willard, onetime congressman from the state of Michigan and publisher of the Battle Creek Daily Journal. In his editorial on page one of the August 8 issue, Willard eulogized:
He was a man of the patriarchal pattern, and his character was cast in the heroic mold. If the logical clearness to formulate a creed; if the power to infect others with one's own zeal, and impress them with one's own convictions; if the executive ability to establish a sect and to give it form and stability; if the genius to shape and direct the destiny of great communities, be a mark of true greatness, Elder White is certainly entitled to the appellation, for he possessed not one of these qualities only, but all of them in a marked degree.
The essential feature of his life's work was constructive. He had the rare power of social organization and laid the foundation and marked the design for the erection of a social and religious structure for others to develop and further complete. . . . As with all founders of communities, his life is not abroken shaft, but an enduring column, whereon others are to build.
The public press across the land also gave him favorable notice.