It had been 25 years since Ellen had been with her older sister, Caroline Clough, who lived in Ottawa, Kansas."Why not stop and make a brief visit on our way to California?" This they did. The reunion was a very happy one. In a letter to Edson, Ellen described her sister, 15 years her senior:
She is an understanding, intelligent woman, living, I think, up to the best light she has had. She is a powerful singer. This is as much her talent as speaking is mine. I think I never heard a voice that would thrill the soul like hers (letter 10, 1872).
They had thought to remain for only two days, but Caroline had many ideas for their pleasure and for speaking, and insisted that they extend their visit.
Brother and Sister Clough informed us that they had four children in Colorado Territory, and expressed a strong desire that we should visit them. We decided to stop at Denver and spend a day or two with their daughter, Mrs. Walling (ibid.).