July 1883

1 July 1883 • Sunday

July 1

to day has ben extremely warm it was so suffocating in here I had to send <to> the warden and ask if I could not go out I was so faint and sick I could scarcely walk but soon got better when the door was opened every body says it is the hottest <se[a]son> that has been known for years sister Bathsheba [Bigler] Smith and Ramonia [Romania] B. Pratt visited me to day they brought fruits of different kind and said if [I] wanted any thing to let them know and I should have it Mr S. A. Kenner was also here with several other gentlemen he has just returned from Beaver says they are all looking for me down there he asked me how I would like to take a trip to arizona to escape this trouble when the jury is disorganised they will be obliged to relcace [release] me untill another is organized and in the mean time I might take a trip to arizona Oh has it come to that I couldnt think of it [p. 31] at first to go so far from any one I know seems awfull but I will wait and see what the prospects are of getting out one of the gentlemen who came with Mr Kenner was a reporter for an eastern paper in talking with me he said that the courage I had manifested was somthing wonder full that it had created a great deal of interest in the east he said I was very young to be so plucky I told him I was not extra Brave or plucky as I knew of only that I was not afraid to do wright he said he persummed a firm conviction of wright would make a differnce with me I told <him> yes all the diference in the world that I would not hesitate in doing wright no matter what danger followed threatened he said that it was strange that there was now and then a heorine [heroine] but usualy female courage would give way. I had a talk with Marshal Ireland and asked him if I could go to the city and have my picture taken he said he could not let me go to the city with out special order from the court he would not allow me to go to the neighbors several of whom have asked if I might come. [p. 32]

3 July 1883 • Tuesday

July 3

to day I have been visited Zina D. [Huntington] Young and sister Freese [Mary Ann Burnham Freeze] their talk was very pleasant and enlivening Sister Zina also related some of her experience in <the> early rise of the Church at which I felt my suffering was comparatively nothing they brought can[ne]d fruits jellies and other delicacies and were anxious to learn if there was any thing I needed. I received a letter from S[ister] Eliza R Snow Smith in which she expresses herself pleased with my conduct and also bids me be of good cheer and all will be well with me. I have also received a letter from a non mormon lady who expresses a admiration for me and says stay with your determination do not forfiet your dign[i]ty by acceding to such an unjust demand tomorrow is the 4 of July the anniversary of the decluration of independence where in the people of this nation were declared [p. 33] to be free to worship god according to the dictates of their own consciences but I am held here a prisoner for refusing to answer certain questions relative to my family relations this look[s] to me something like oppression However I know that the Lord will overrule for the welfare of his people and I am content. I shall at last have enough to celebrate our independence with a good dinner as I have on hand at the present time can[n]ed tomatoes black berry jam rasberry jelly caned cherries caned pears orengs [oranges] sammon [salmon] oysters sardines pickles butter suggar of lemon candy nuts crackers and cake

4 July 1883 • Wednesday

July 4

this is a general day of rejoiceing for all and I have not failed to rejoice thoug[h] not so much for the freedom I enjoy as the know ledge that I am suffering in a worthy cause and one which <will> surely bring a reward sooner the warden went to the fort to spend the day and instructed the turnkey to keep us locked up which I am certain was much against his will for he gave us more than our usual time and said if he dared to [p. 34] he would be glad to let us out all day but he must perform his duty never[the]less he granted us permission to witness the baloon asscension which to me was indeed worth seeing Mr Ken[n]er Mr Cannon son of George Q Cannon and also Mr Kafon <Caine> son of Delegate Kafon <[John Thomas] Caine visited me this evening> they took baby for a ride and would have been pleased had I been at liberty to enjoy the same treat but that was out of the question The guard are not so stricked [strict] about not talking to me on the contrary they are very agreeble and I know that they not only respect me but think it unjust and un[n]ecessary to detain me here.

5 July 1883 • Thursday

July 6 <5>1

have been visited to day by Sisters Precindia L. Kimbal [Presendia Huntington Kimball] and Sister Mary a Freeze I was greatly pleased to se[e] them Sister Kimble [Kimball] is one of the ladies who visited me here the first day I came she expressed herself much pleased to see me getting along so well She brought me some nice fruits and jellies sent by sisters M. M. Barratt [Martha Barrett Tolman] sister Freeze brought me some books one of which is E. R. Snows poems which is very interesting to me she also brought some [p. 35] pictures I was so greatfull I love pictures they seem to me to posess a comforting influence and add such a home like apperance to the surrou[n]dings that even in a prison one almost feels contented

9 July 1883 • Monday

July 9

Sister Musser visited me yesterday and said she had a pass to come once a week and bring a friend to see me she said her brother in law was a sewing mashine agent and he would send me a mashine to use while I stay here as I need to make some summer wear Marshal Ireland was here yesterday and I asked him if I might have a dress maker come and cut and fit some dresses for me he didnt seem to like the idea at first but could find no reasonable excuse for refusing so he said he didnt <think> there could be any objection to that but would talk with the warden. about it. Later in the evening he came and asked me if I could not buy my dresses ready made as Mrs [Alice Shetler] Dow had bought some for the woman who is a prisoner with me I told him without the privelige of trying them on I could not get them to fit and that I did not <like> them he said it does not matter much how they fit does it Yes says I it does [p. 36] I like my dresses to look neat he laughed and <said> he didnt think it could make much difference while I staid here and I must send [illegible] [and?] get just what I could get along with for they could not keep a guard with me all day and it would be making an exception to the rules of the prison which he did not like to do and it was only the day before that a man who is in here for robbery was permitted to visit with his wife all day with out the presence of a guard and another man who was found guilty of murder has been permitted to go home and spend sum [some] days with his family Marshal Ireland objects to makeing exceptions but he manages to grant the wor[s]t criminal more favor than he will me he has refused to let me go and have my photo taken he will not let me have half an hours ride he happened while here to see me walking down on the grounds a short distance from the Pen [p. 37] and he instructed the warden to forbid my going so far away when this woman was first imprisoned with me the warden and guard all talked in my behalf and the Marshal while here let the better part of his nature overcome his predigice so far as to promice me that if I had to stay here he would have something done for her or my self. but as soon as he got away he changed his mind for their was nothing more said except that it was impossible to do any <thing> for her. the Warden and guards are kind to me but they are not permitted to show me much favor but Mrs Dow the Wardens wife is as disobliging as decency will allow she evident[l]y does not like me but why I cannot tell for I have tried in evry way to please her she was more kind to me at first than she is now I was talking with one of the guard about it and asked him of [if] he could not see that they were determined to show as little favor as possible to me and he admitted that it was so. I told him that Mrs Dow talked more with this woman and would do her a favor soo[n]er than me. he said he had [p. 38] noticed it I am getting so tired of this place they seem to which [wish] to make it so distastfull to me Oh! if it was not for my friends who do all they can for me and the faith I have in the Lord for I do know that he waches over me and helps me bare patiently with my trials and I will try ever so hard to do wright and live exceptable [acceptable] before God and then I shall have nothing to fear. the waggon is coming with the mail and I am so glad for the papers are very interesting to me as I see how my conduct is viewed by reporters Editors and the people in general

10 July 1883 • Tuesday

July 10

Mrs [Agnes Goodwin] Ireland has benn out with several other ladies look[ing] around she brought them all in to take a look at my room without so much as caring whether I was willing are [or] not Oh! how hard it is for me to submit to the insulting curiosity of those who seek to deprive me of my rights I have a perfect war with myself to keep quiet and bare calm[l]y all the insulting humiliations to which I am subject Mr and Mrs Ireland will both talk with the woman who is here with me but they scarcely notice me however I can bare all that for [p. 39] I care not for the oppinion of those who perfer to bestow their smiles and favors on one who is lost to all honor they scarcely treat us alike which I am thankfull for I should perfer that their [there] be a distinction shown if I be the one that suffers by it.

12 July 1883 • Thursday

July 12

The woman who has been improsened [imprisoned] with me has been released and Oh how hapy and thankfull I feel yesterday I felt so lonely and wreched I longed so much for the comfort of home and friends but to day I am filled with grattitude to my heavenly Father for all his mercies and blessing unto me and that I may always live so that I shall be worthy of the blessing of the Lord is the desire of my heart Sister Musser and her mother2 visited me yesterday and bad[e] me be of good cheer. how kind and good they are to me I am greatfull that I have the friendship and esteem of the Latterday Saints and that I may ever prove my self worthy to be numbered among [p. 40] them is my constant prayer. My cousin B. F. Cummings [Benjamin F. Cummings Jr.] and his mother3 visited me to day it was a pleasant meeting for all of us but all too short they were greatly in hopes that I would have been released [from] here so that I might <visit> my many relitives and friends who are all anxious to welcome me to their homes but cousin Ben says if I am released at Beaver I shall <have> opportunity to come back and make my home with him while I visit all I those whom I desire too.

15 July 1883 • Sunday

July 15

Yesterday I had a pleasant visit from Sister Richards her mother in law and Sister Runnels4 the latter whose husband George Runnels [Reynolds] [(]the one who served a term of nearly two years heare being convicted of polygammy) said she was no stranger here that she had often been here through storm and wind in fact she never hesitated to come on the apointed day to see her husband no matter [p. 41] what kind of weather. she spoke warmly of the gratitud[e] she felt for the saints who were so ready to aid and assist her at all times through that hour of trial and I too feel the deep[e]st gratitud for the generosity which has been manifested in my behalf Mr Kenner visited me last evening he said he thought of talking to Judge Twiss and see if he could not prevail upon him to release me now that they have sustained the dignity of the Court he could see no re[a]son why they should presist in detaining me here any longer but I am convinced that it would be useless for they are determined to hold me as long as possible and I persume they think by so doing they will frighten others who may be called upon to give testimony but they will never su[c]ceed for the Lord will sustain his people in doing right at all times Bro. Penrose and wife5 visited me to day they expressed themselves pleased to see me so cheerfull and assured me that I had the sympathy and prayers of the [p. 42] all the saints Bro Penrose gave me a ten dollar bill which had been receve[d] at the news office for me and he said if their [there] was anything that I wished to just let them know and I should have it.

16 July 1883 • Monday

July 16 To day Sister Musser and her daughter Flora [Stenhouse] came to see me they brought me callicoes and other materials for mysels [myself] and baby. they also brought many presents sent by different ones among which was half dozzen cans of suggar of lemonade Miss Musser [Flora Stenhouse] perposed making some lemonade which I heartly endorsed and she accordingly made a pi[t]cher full we all drank the gaurds joing [joining] us and so cheerfull and hapy were we that one not knowing would scarcely take me for a prisoner and the gentlemen who were so kind and court[e]ous for my jailors Sister Musser said my friends were joining togather to buy my baby a carri[a]ge How kind and generous they all are to me I often ask myself if I am worthy the friendship and esteem which has been universely expressed for me by all the Saints and many who are not have expressed decided admiration for my [p. 43] conduct I feell to give thanks to my Heavenly Father for thus surrounding me with so many friends in my hour of trial I know that the Lord will overrule for the benefit of those who seek to serve him and I know that he has blessed and sustained me and also enabled me <to> answer the inquisitive questions that have been asked me by non mormon reporters and others who were desirous to learn something about my affairs without giveing any information which I did not wish them to know

17 July 1883 • Tuesday

July 17 Today has been uncommonly interesting to me Sister Freeze with half [a] dozzen other laides [ladies] visited me this morning we were all feeling <so> happy and the conversation was indeed lively and interesting untill the guard called time which [was] all to soon to please us but they took their leave promiseing to come again in a short time after <more> visitors were annonsuced [announced] and I was supprised and delighted to see Miss Jenny [Jane] Warnock one of my near neighbors and intimat[e] friends at Monroe she told me all about home how they were all filled with consternation on hearing of my arrest it almost made me homesick [p. 44] for I wanted to see them all so much the warden kindly extended the time so we had an hours visit which we fully occupied in asking and answering questions the lady who came with Miss Warnock is a resident of the City and she brought numerous presents and toys for baby some of which Mrs. Richards sent. Miss Warnock said she was going to stay in the City some months and would come and see me often this arangement pleased me very much. The baby Carri[a]ge which sister Musser spoke of was brought this eveening also a new bedstead but the carri[a]ge is such a beauty my baby is perfectly delighted not more so though than I am for he has been so poorly and consequently very pe[e]vish and fretfull and now he will not only enjoy himself but I shall be much more comfortable.

18 July 1883 • Wednesday

July 18 My Cousin D. E. Harris visited me to day and Oh how hapy I was to see him he is so good and true that his very presence enspires me with faith and courage he has always been like a dear Brother to me and of course was very much interested in my welfare but [p. 45] he was so well satisfied to see me so cheerfull and hapy he insured [assured] me that all would be well with me that I must be faithfull and prayerfull and I would be comforted through all my trials they allowed us forty minutes and Oh! I had so much to say that I could scarcely say any thing It seemed like a dream when he was gone he is going to Monroe and to my fathers place. Mr Kenner and a friend of his were a reporter for the Harold [Salt Lake Herald] were also here this evening Mr Kenner tells me how great an interest every body are takeing in this case I shall be considered quite a heroin by those who do not understand that I have been sustained and comforted by an over ruleing hand for if I had not I neve[r] could have undergone so great a trial I do not take credit for being brave except that the conviction of right gives strength and courage and I am therefore brave enough to carry out my convictions. I was out to the well to day getting a pitcher of water when a gentleman who was passing with a load of hay stop[p]ed for to get a drink he asked me if I was the lady who was in for contempt I told him I was and he expressed pleasure at seeing me and [p. 46] and said though his means was limited yet he wished me to except [accept] fifty cents as appreciation of his friend ship he said he hoped there would be sufficient means raised to render me indipendent that I deserved it. I know not whether he was mormon are [or] not but I was greatfull for the interest he manifested.

19 July 1883 • Thursday

July 19 to day my baby is one year old and Sister [Louisa Greene] Richards has remembered him she sent him a new testament by sisters Susan K Green [Susan Kent Greene] and Sister Wilcox who have visited me to day I hope that my baby may live to read and appreciate this book

23 July 1883 • Monday

July 23 to day I have had a pleasant visit from Bro. William Fatheringham of Beaver he says my friends are anxiously waiting my return there I also received a letter <from> sister [Ruth Welton] Tyler wife of Daniel Tyler in which they join in in expressions of warmest friendship togather with an invitation to visit them as early as possible after I am released I have added so many to my list of friends since comeing here that I shall never regret my improsenment How wonderfully every attempt of our enemy [p. 47] against us is turned by the mercy of the Lord to our advantage I have a sewing Machine now and am so busy the time passes very quickly Mother wrote that Pa would returny here in a short time to accompany me to Beaver which will be a great comfort to me Mrs Dow is much more sociable of late I do not know what has caused such a change but she is very aggreable and the guard are all so friendly I feel quite at home tommorrow is the anniversary of our pioneers day I read <of> the preparations which are being made for a grand celebration should like being at home with my family but I can wait a little longer and then I shall be with them hapy and thankfull for the experience which I have had some of the sisters are getting up a subscription fund for me I did not expect to meet with so much kindness in fact I did not think of what any one would say I only thought of doing what I knew to be right [p. 48]

24 July 1883 • Tuesday

July 24 to day I have witnessed the baloon sailing in the air it passed directly over the Penitentiary so close that we could destinctly see the lady who was in the basket wave her handkerchief when they passed over our heads they showered down a perfect cloud of handbills some of which fell close by me and I gathered some twas indeed a novel sight and one long to be remembered Mr. Kenner and Mr. Croff one of the gentlemen who would have went [illegible] lands at Beaver came to see me he said he hoped I would be able to indure my pro[l]onged stay here that I had won more friends than I could imagine and that every body felt genuine sympathy for me.

26 July 1883 • Thursday

July 26 to day Sister Musser again visited me with hear [her] sister she has had sickness in her family and was very tired but came to see me for fear I need<ed> something how kind and generous she is Sister Freeze with her mother6 and sister7 came to see me too and brought me some books to read besid[e]s othe[r] presants.8 [p. 49] this evening Zera Snow came out did not see me but enquired of the guard how his ward was getting along. Oh! how it makes my blood tingle to think that an upstart official and can rule to suit himself without regard to right or justice.

27 July 1883 • Friday

July 27 to day my uncle B. F. Cummings Sen. came with sevral others to see me they were much pleased to see me feeling so well and hoped that I would still continue this evening I received a letter from sister E. R. Snow Smith which is full of comfort and consolation

29 July 1883 • Sunday

July 29 to day is sunday and so pleasant it rained last night and every body have been enjoying carri[a]ge rideing today as the r[o]ads are free from dust as I wa[t]ched the carriges go by I could not help feeling very lonely and longed to be among my friends Bro George Runnels [Reynolds] visited me this morning and told me how he fared the two years he was a prisoner and it was much worse than I am treated I fell [feel] that I have much to be greatfull for but there are times when I cannot help being depressed in spirit I should enjoy and appreciate listening to the conssil [counsel] [p. 50] and advise [advice] of some of those who have had more experience with the ways of the world it is trying for me to listen to the abuse heaped upon the Latterday Saints and especialy the Presidency of our church which I have had too and rather more to day than common. Zera Snow came to see me and give me a little advise [advice] this evening and though I felt something like bitter resentment twords [toward] him I managed to treat him civily I began the conversation with the supposition that he had come to see how I enjoyed the home which he had been instrumantal in providing for me he said yes he had thought for sometime of comeing. I asked him how much more he was going to do for me and he said he didnt know, that he was in hopes that I would be ready to answer by this time or perhaps if I would give him my re[a]sons they would be sufficient to excuse me from answering he said he knew of course that I had been Mr. [Clarence] Merrills wife that it was a fact of public notoriety [p. 51] and he could see no reson why I should be ashamed to acknowledge it since evrybody knew he also said as near as he could learn that the marrige took place over three years ago and in that case Mr Merrill could not be prosecuted I told him then if he was satisfied I had been married and also that the marrige had taken place over three years previous why trouble himself furthur about it what good would it do He said though he was satisfied he could not prove that such was the case and that in justice to Mr Merrill they could not get out an inditement with out sufficient evidence to warrant it then I said but you say he cannot be prosecuted he said that he did not know the exact time the marrige took place but if I answered the questions and said it had been more than three years that the matter would be dropt [p. 52] I told hime I was not atall ashamed to answer those questions but I had other resons and should still refuse to answer them and I then asked him what he intended to do next that it seemed his word was law he said he thought I was flat[t]ering him and I told him I considered it any thing but flattering under the circumstances that because the three ju[d]ges were on his side did not make it justice he said that it was ascential [essential] to punish for contempt for if I was allowed to set myself up above the law and the government and others were so allowe[d] it would eventualy turn evry thief and murder[er] in the land at liberty he said that people might practice all kinds of wick[ed]ness murder their children ect and call it religion and have as good a right to refuse to testify if called upon he said polygammy was a crime and the law would put a stop to it [p. 53] I told him that it couldnt do it and he said if the laws now existing would not that there would be a law passed that would be effectual in putting an end to polygamy Marshall Ireland who had come in and been listening said that Congress had been slow in make laws to stop the progress of polygamy but that it would I told him yes they had been very slow indeed that evry sc[h]eme which their wicked brains could contrive had been tried and proved a failure and that they would continue to do so and that if half the energy and perseverance were used in putting a stop to murdering stealing and other abominible crimes that they would meet with better success. Mr. Snow then said he would like to ask me a question and I consented so he said you know as well as I do that all theese second marriges are secret and the first too for that matter simply a contract between the man and woman with ore [or] without a ceremony makes little difference which [p. 54] I said I dont know any such thing but he went on and said the question is this would you in keeping your oath which you took in the jury room to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth have violated any other oath the very absurdity of the question made me smile I wondered if he thought it required an oath of us to mind our own business and let other peoples alone if an oath would do any good in <that direction I> would perpose [propose] he take two ore [or] three However I told him I never took an oath before and had I known as much as I did afterwards I should not have taken that one to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth here Mas. [Marshal] Ireland spoke up and said what would<n’t> you take the oath to tell nothing but the truth the way in which he asked the question was so significant that I felt the hot blood mount to my face and I said I hope Mr Ireland that you do not wish to infer that I would tell any thing else but the truth he said [p. 55] why that is the conclusion I take from what you said I repeated to him that I had said I would not tell the whole truth ect he says Oh! I misunderstood you but did not apoligise and I know that he did it on perpose to offend me. But Mr. Snow again joined in the conversation and said that he admired my <truthfullness> and that it was much better to refuse to answer than to lye [lie] as many other[s] belonging to the religion I beleaved in had done said there was one who had been very forward in lauding me to the skies that would lye under oath he told me who it was and I told him I didnt beleave it he then began to think of going and said Well you dont intend to answer those questions No Sir I do not and he says I will have to go through the same form as before and I think Judge Twiss can send you back but dont know whether [p. 56] he will are [or] not I asked him if they could still hold me after the Grand Jury who was offended were discharged he said he considered the Grand Jury a body which could not be discharged but that could make no difference to the offender I told him I thought it was him that was offended more than any body else he said Oh! you havent injured me any I answered I am well aware of that neither have I injured any ones else he said no except in defying the Court he then took his leave and Oh! how much I wished to be at home among those I could trust

after Marshal Ireland had gone I had a long talk with Mr and Mrs Dow they are death on the religion we profess but said they could not blame me for I did not dare say my soul was my own that I was [p. 57] [page torn] my friends [page torn] a chance which perhapes not one woman in a thousand will ever have and that is to asert your rights and preach the truth to your mormon women and tell them they are women and aught to be treated as such and not like slaves he said you will perhaps not have the courage for it would take consid[e]rable to go against all your friends but it is the only way for you to do right I talked to them but they would except [accept] of no argument truth re[a]son ore [or] any thing except their own ideas but Mrs Dow told me when she locked me up that she wanted me to remember that she liked me very much and though she considered me very much in the dark yet she didnt know that she could blame me because she I had always been taught it but she cincerely hoped I would not have to come back here.

30 July 1883 • Monday

July 30 to day I have received letters from home and also one from Bro. Jones [p. [58]] [page torn] I was feeling [page torn] [so]mewhat depressed in spirits but his letter and the word of consolation and comfort it contains I knew to be true and I felt after reading it to bear patiently with all the trials imposed upon me for the end and aim for which I suffer is worth enduring all things

31 July 1883 • Tuesday

July 31 to day Sister Willcox and some of her friends have been here it is a great comfort to know that my friends take an interes[t] in my welfare for I sometime[s] feel that I need all the consolation that they can bring me to sustain me in this hour of trial Mr Kenner has been to see me this afternoon and I have told him what Zera Snow and Mr Ireland said he thinks that Mr Snow was simply trying to frighten me in to answering their questions because they are aware that one of us must come to terems prety soon and if they can only make it seem that they have triumphed it will be a great achievement in their favor they did not count on meeting such [p. 59] [page torn] just as good as [page torn] answer their questions they would [page torn] ask any only those three and also that Mr Merrill would not be prosecuted it is my opinion that they will be glad to get rid of this case on all most any condition Mr Kenner says there is not the slightest re[a]son to think that I will have to come back here unless they over step all law and exercise perfect tyranny I do not know whether they will do that but I am convinced that public opinion is in my favor and that their own party will express indignation if they carry this much furthur I have been talking to day with Mr Dow and he says he would like to show me as much favor as possible but that I make it difficult for him because in telling my friends that they treat me kindly here brings censure upon him from the Marshal because there are a few who wish me to be so badly treated that I shall have to relent in order to be released but they do not count on the material we are made of and I think I can stand all they will impose upon me [p. [60]]

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July 1883, The Prison Journal of Belle Harris, accessed April 18, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/belle-harris/1883/1883-07