When James married Ellen at age 25 he possessed unusual physical strength and ability. He had grown strong and tall working on his father's farm. During the years immediately following the Disappointment his zeal for the cause propelled him along a course that made increasing demands on his time and strength.
By 1865 he was president of the General Conference; head of the General Conference Committee; president of the SDA Publishing Association; active in writing, publishing, traveling, and filling appointments. In addition he had been intimately involved in publishing the first of a series of Ellen's pamphlets, Health; or How to Live.
On Friday, August 18, at age 44, he suffered a stroke of paralysis. Here is what led up to this: