On a trip to Orrington, Maine, Ellen met a young Adventist preacher, James White, then 23 years of age. As their labors occasionally brought the two together, there sprang up an affection that led to their being united in marriage late in August, 1846.
During the first few weeks following their marriage, James and Ellen gave earnest study to a 46-page tract published by Joseph Bates, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The tract, entitled Seventh-day Sabbath, set forth the Biblical evidence for the sacredness of the seventh day. Convinced that the views set forth were scriptural, they began to keep Saturday as the Sabbath. Some six months later, on April 3, 1847, Ellen White was shown in vision the law of God in the heavenly sanctuary, with a halo of light around the fourth commandment.
This view brought a clearer understanding of the importance of the Sabbath doctrine, and confirmed the confidence of the Adventists in it. (Early Writings, pp. 32-35.) The early days of James and Ellen White's married life were filled with poverty and sometimes distress. Workers in the Advent movement had no one but themselves to depend upon for financial support, (Self Supported Ministry Work) so James White divided his time between preaching and earning a living in the forest, on the railroad, or in the hayfield.
A son, Henry, was born to the Whites on August 26, 1847. His presence brought joy and comfort to the young mother, but Ellen White soon found she must leave her child with trusted friends and continue her work in traveling and bearing the messages God had entrusted to her. The next few years she wrote extensively, traveled widely to visit the “scattered flock,” and attended conferences.