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August 1874


EVENTS IN EMMELINE B. WELLS’S DIARY FOR 1874

22 August

Was asked to write an editorial for the Woman’s Exponent in place of editor Lula Greene Richards.

3 September

Attended ward Relief Society meeting in her capacity as assistant secretary.

19 September

Received comments, not all complimentary, on her article in the Exponent.

28 October

Sent an article to the Woman’s Exponent, championing strong-minded women as the best helpmeets for husbands.

7 November

Melvina Whitney Dunford, EBW’s daughter, married William Woods, a nephew of Daniel H. Wells.

28 December

Called upon the sick, poor, and needy.

6 August 1874 • Thursday

Diary of 1874 commencing Aug 6

Thurs. This morning a very large Pleasure Party started on an excursion to Cache Valley Annie [Elizabeth Ann Wells] was the only one of our family, Mell [Melvina Whitney Dunford] staid all night at Mary Jane [Whitney Groo]’s and went this afternoon to Mary Ann [Needham Sears]’s, this evening her eye was dreadful, the weather is most extremely hot, Louie [Louise M. Wells] went to the [Salt Lake] Theatre in the evening to see the Vokes’,1 Em. [Emeline Whitney Wells] was very dull and sleepy I was busy all the evening writing, I am nearly heart-broken over the course Mellie is taking, if she could have faith as I wish and desire for her she might be healed2

7 August 1874 • Friday

Friday Aug 7. It is said the sun is hotter than ever, I am very low-spirited about M. [p. 1] {p. 3} she seems determined to get married, what to do I know not how my feelings are harrowed up <Budd [Horace G. Whitney] got up a Surprise Party for> Alice Young commonly called Alibo she is eighteen today; Em. & Annie were to go <to> it,

Em. went & Mell, could not her eye was real bad, Annie & Eliza [F. Wells] went after they came in, they arrived by the eleven o’clock train

8 August 1874 • Saturday

Sat. Aug 8. Em. was expecting to go up Cottonwood to stay two or three days with Miss [Mary E.] Cook Miss Ida [I. Cook] and several others and was busy all day preparing, however her father3 will not let her go on Sunday, so she is going with him to Lehi tomorrow to a two day’s meeting– tonight Rulon [S. Wells] Heber [M. Wells] and the girls returned from Cacthe [Cache] Valley having spent a few day [p. 2] {p. 4} very happily, this is the last night of the Vokes’, Lou. has gone again making five nights in succession that she has been Annie went to night Mellie is going out on a pic-nic tomorrow with Will [William W. Woods], Ned [C. Edward Wallin] & Lile [Eliza Woods Wallin] and Mr. [L. O.] Tanner Mr. [William P.] & Mrs. [Eliza Hadley] Appleby, I hope it will do her good. she seems in very poor health and indifferent in spirits, I would like her to be more gay and lively at her age; and especially on the eve of her marriage G. G. G. [George E. G.] Taylor was buried to day.

9 August 1874 • Sunday

Sun. Aug: 9, Louisa [Free] Wells is fifty years old today, she has gone with the Esq.4 and company to Lehi Emmie went, Mell. went on the excursion, Jethro [H. Whitney] came and spent the day, had lunch &c. Maria Mac Rea [Maria Taylor McRae] from Heber City called on me, at evening Mr. H. [William C. Hendrie]5 came soon after Em. had returned [p. 3] {p. 5} by the evening train, he staid all the evening, when he left to go home I went down stairs with him and he told me a little of his feelings in regard to our people &c, how near he seems to me, I cannot account for it, it is a mystery; can it be that we were acquainted before we came here that our spirits are closely related,

10 August 1874 • Monday

Mon. Aug. 10. The upper porch is nearly finished,6 the men cut off lots of branches while I was away and made me feel dreadful, I never intended anything of the sort, Mell & Em. went down to Mary Ann’s, Lizzie Heisel went to Lile’s today– I am not feeling well and am so low-spirited tomorrow is my husband’s trial7 towards evening Mrs. Nancy Dixon came here and said she was destitute [p. 4] {p. 6}8 of a home, I told her to stay until I could see what could be done for her in our Society; how dreadful to be left in one’s old age dependent upon strangers, and broken down in health, God help me that I may never be left thus friendless; I feel as if I could not turn any one away and especially a mother, my heart aches for the mothers, Mr. Wilson came and spent the evening also Richard [J.] Taylor;

11 August 1874 • Tuesday

Tues. Aug. 11. This is Charlie [Justus Charles Earl]’s birthday he is twenty today and good and pure, Adeline [Woodward Earl] came down the Esq. appeared to have his trial today but it seems postponed until tomorrow; Rulon [S. Wells] started up Bingham today, the party Em. was to have gone with have returned from Cottonwood; Ort [Orson F. Whitney] was here this evening, also [p. 5] {p. 7} Richard, Annie has gone to see Miss Cook, Mell is going on with her sewing; and preparations for being married;

12 August 1874 • Wednesday

Wednes. Eve. Aug. 12. Em. went horseback-riding with Richard Will took Mellie & Emmie for ice-cream after she came home from riding then Richard came and took her for soda-water,

13 August 1874 • Thursday

Thurs. Aug. 13 Lou. went out to Salt Lake with a very select com,

Thurs. Eve. Aug. 13.

This has been an intolerably hot day, Zina [D. Huntington Young] called on me to ask me to look after some sick people, I was unable to go until evening, when I was coming home Mr. Hendrie overtook me just by our gate, Jo[seph] Pitt, Ort Whitney and Emily [Harris Wells] had been here all [p. 6] {p. 8} the evening, and as has now become customary, Will and Mellie were sitting in the parlor door, Mr. Hendrie staid until nearly twelve, we enjoy his company so much, if he could only see the light of the Gospel, I should be so happy but there is no knowing what the future will bring about; Mr. Tanner and Mellie <were out riding>

14 August 1874 • Friday

Friday Aug. 14.

Mellie & Emmie went up to Lile’s to dinner, Mellie is preparing to go out to Parley’s Park9 for a few days, Em. went up to see her father for a short time; and talked to him about some furniture for our new parlor, he promised to see to it right away; Wallin invited Emmie to go but she did not wish;

15 August 1874 • Saturday

Sat. Aug. 15. Mellie went by coach this morning, her eye is bad and she [p. 7] {p. 9} seemed quite sick; we cleaned the parlor today, <Sis.> [Elizabeth Harper] Brooks and I went to the Warm Springs,10 in the evening Ort was here, Lydia Ann [Alley Wells] and the girls returned from Bear Lake today, the Esq’s case which was postponed until today for decision is still further postponed until Thursday next.

The President [Brigham Young] and several others went to Logan today to hold a two-day meeting, from there he intends going on to Soda Springs [Idaho];

16 August 1874 • Sunday

Sun. Aug. 17 <16>. I have been very ill again one of those old nervous attacks which I dread so much, and seem so much like death; Annie went to meeting Junie [Junius F. Wells] returned home with her it is his first call on us since his return he was very interesting, in the evening Ort. Richard Briggie [Brigham S.] Young Budd [C. B.] Swift <Stan[ley H. Clawson] & Rudd. [Rudger J. Clawson]> and a host of girls were here and spent the evening, we had some good [p. 8] {p. 10} music and singing,

17 August 1874 • Monday

Mon. Aug. 17. It is a fearfully hot day I feel terribly languid Em. is busy making her a new calico dress; Ort. & Stan. start for South this morning, Miss Cook for Soda, in the evening we were quite alone a most unusual thing, Dessie [Martha Deseret Wells] Nettie [Susan Annette Wells] Katie [Catherine Wells] May [Mary M. Wells] Mary Jane Groo and several other ladies called through the afternoon;

18 August 1874 • Tuesday

Tues. Aug. 18. This is Mellie’s twenty-fourth birthday, she has not made any calculations to celebrate it, she returned from the Park about two o’clock, feeling very unwell, her eye still no better; I gave her a set of jewelry Em. gave her some linen collars, in the evening Will was here also Mr. Tanner, who is just going to start for Soda Springs tomorrow Em. is going with the excursion to [p. 9] {p. 11} Richmond; Adeline left today for Logan

19 August 1874 • Wednesday

Wednes. Aug. 19. This is Inez [D. Earl] Birthday twenty-two today how time flies; Em. went away by the Six o’clock train for Richmond; it is raining slowly, as if it had set in for two or three days; Mell went up to Lile’s in the evening to spend two or three days, we were very lonely, Annie went to the Wasatch Literary Club,11 and I was alone with Lou. and the little ones, I was very lonely indeed and felt the need of a friend to speak to but consoled myself by writing it has been a solace to me in many lonely hours, yet there are times when one feels unfitted and incapaciatated for it;

20 August 1874 • Thursday

Thurs. Aug 20. Today is Zilpha [D.] Fuller’s birthday she will be nineteen, I would like to peep in upon them and see how [p. 10] {p. 12} they are celebrating it, we are so lonely Mell. & Em. both gone, I hardly know how to endure being deprived of the society of my children but must bear it with what grace I am capable of sustaining Callie [Clara E. Wells] came to stay with Lou. they were singing and playing all sorts of pranks, noisy and gay; I seldom ever felt more lonely and have shed more tears, to-night than is customary for me to do, it seemed as if I could not control myself, at all, I could not say why but it was a relief to me, as I had no one to speak to,

21 August 1874 • Friday

Friday Aug. 21.

Em. came home but the 8 o’clock train, I visited my sister Lucy [Woodward Hewlings] took Onie [Verona M. Dunford] with me went up on the street-cars had a rather pleasant time, arrived home found Mr. Hendrie had called during my [p. 11] {p. 13} absence, felt very much annoyed as I wished very much to see him; he came again about ten o’clock and staid until very late, he talked to me a very little about a present for Em. on her birthday; E. has had a pleasant journey and enjoyed it very much.

22 August 1874 • Saturday

Sat. Aug. 22. I went to the fourteenth ward to meeting,12 had a good meeting after the close of the meeting Sister E[liza] R. Snow called on me to stay to a meeting of the committee of the Exponent,13 and they wished me to write an Editorial as Sister [Louisa Lula Greene] Richards was ill in Cache Valley; concluded to send a committee of 2 to call on [James P.] Dwyer to ask him to take the agency of the Exponent; Sister [Phoebe Carter] Woodruff who is going on a visit to her friends in the East, was appointed as a Missionary to preach and [p. 12] {p. 14} teach the Gospel in her travels; she was blessed by the sisters:14 in the evening Em. went for a ride had a nice time;

23 August 1874 • Sunday

Sun. Aug. 23. Mary Jo [Ayers Young]’s baby15 died this morn. we are none of us very well today– in the evening Will was here Mell. went with Lile to the Methodist Church; Mr. Bryant came home with her; Jo. [Joseph W.] Taylor, Rudd, Clawson, Harry [Henry B.] Emery, Rulon, Heber and several other of the young folks were here; enjoyed themselves very much indeed;

Wm. [Dunford]16 was here drunk both Saturday night and Sunday very much to my annoyance; indeed on Sunday he made me quite sick; when will it all end; I am so worn out with these kind of things;

24 August 1874 • Monday

Mon. Aug. 24.

This morning I commenced writing, I seem so concerned about the Editorial17 for [p. 13] {p. 15} fear I should not please the Committee– for my own part I would not be at all afraid, I love this kind of work, Mr. Wilson came here and spent the evening Emmie was invited to go riding to Hill’s Farm with Richard Taylor, but the wind was blowing severely and Mr. Wilson being here she could not very well leave him; she missed her music lesson today– on account of some difficulty about the key;

25 August 1874 • Tuesday

Tues. Aug. 25.

I am still writing getting on pretty well, been not feeling very well in my mind; and not in health, my head seems confused and I am very nervous indeed; I feel so much care upon me I hardly know how to endure it, but the Lord helps me from day to day; [p. 14] {p. 16}

26 August 1874 • Wednesday

Wednes. Aug. 26.

Today I finished my writing and Annie took it to the [Woman’s Exponent] Office I am glad to have it off my mind; in the evening Joshua [K. Whitney] came and took tea with us; Mr. Hendrie came after tea, Eliza came to stay with Annie, he read a little to us; we had a pleasant time; Will. was down stairs with Mellie all the evening I suppose they will soon be married now; Mr. Hendrie did not leave until abter [after] twelve;

27 August 1874 • Thursday

Thurs. Aug 27.

Little Lou’s [Louise M. Wells] twelfth birthday, I was taken very sick in the morning continued very bad all day long I suffered the most agonizing pain got a little easier towards evening the Lady teachers18 called Sisters’ [Martha] Reed & [Sarah] Decker, Em. was home all day waiting upon me, [p. 15] {p. 17} and preparing Lou’s supper, Annie made a cake, Callie gave her a silver-ring Mellie a pink neck-ribbon, she was not so happy as she had anticipated on account of my being sick, Mother19 is very sick has had sinking spells they thought she was dying;

28 August 1874 • Friday

Friday Aug. 28.

I am a little better today we had a new girl come yesterday Lowena, I hope she will be more help, the last girl run away; I have been reading a little today not able to sit up though; Mother is better too, Will was here in the evening and Rulon[.] Lou. went to a party at Lizzie [Ann Elizabeth Riter] Young’s;

29 August 1874 • Saturday

Sat. Aug. 29.

This is a very fine day Annie & Louie have gone to the [Warm] Springs; I got up about four in the afternoon and went as far as the [p. 16] {p. 18} globe;20 took Onie for a walk, Daisie [D. Dunford] and Louie went down to Mary Jane’s to see mother, in the evening Miss Cook came to see us and staid until half-past ten, Em. Annie went home with her Lou. went to the Theatre Chapin [G. D. Chaplin] was playing with Miss Jean Clara Walters; Will. and Mellie Ned. & Lile went to dine at Mr. Robertson’s; did not return until about eleven; very late in the evening a friend of ours called I think he had heard I had been sick; he staid with us very late as little Leslie [A. Dunford] was very ill;

30 August 1874 • Sunday

Sun. Aug. 30, This is another showery day, Em. went to German Meeting– all the others to Sunday school– we had no company except some of the girls from the other house;21 no one much Will came in the evening; [p. 17] {p. 19}

31 August 1874 • Monday

Mon. Aug. 31. This is the last day of summer, Miss Cook opened school; Mell. went to Mac. Allister [Duncan M. McAllister]’s I had several calls from lady-friends; in the evening Rulon was here and Eliza staid all night Will was here very late indeed. Lou. went to Katie [Catherine Spencer] Young’s to sleep; nothing of any importance has transpired with us; the weather is variable– I am troubled considerably about Mellie’s marriage;

Footnotes

  1. [1]The Vokes were a family of touring, repertory actors popular at the Salt Lake Theatre.

  2. [2]EBW refers both to Mellie’s chronic eye infection and to her engagement to a nephew of Daniel H. Wells, an attorney who was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (See Madsen, Intimate History, 141–142.)

  3. [3]Daniel H. Wells.

  4. [4]“Esq.” or “Esquire” was EBW’s name for her husband Daniel H. Wells, intended as a title of dignity, often for landowners or attorneys. Wells was a property owner and served as a justice of the peace in Nauvoo, Illinois. (Wells, Defender, 17, 22–23; Hinckley, Daniel Hanmer Wells, 26–27; Gregg, History of Hancock County, 245.)

  5. [5]William C. Hendrie, an educated professional man in his early thirties from the East Coast, was introduced to the Wells family through William W. Woods, who was courting Emmeline’s daughter Melvina. Hendrie enjoyed socializing with EBW’s household, particularly Emma, the oldest Wells daughter. He entered into the sociability of their family circle and spoke of Emmeline as a mother to him. He shared the family’s interest in theater, literature, and culture, and they hoped he would someday join the church. EBW’s frequent mention of him reflects her enjoyment of intellectual conversation and her appreciation for their friendship. (Madsen, Intimate History, 142–145.) She routinely noted in her diary when someone paid a kindness to her or singled her out for recognition and attention.

    As daughter Annie later reviewed her mother’s diary entries, she added a note explaining Mr. Hendrie’s connection to the family: “This Mr Hendry so often referred to was very much in love with my sister Emmie An extremely nice man, educated wealthy good family but not a member of the Church. Mother idolized Emmie and desired her happiness but belief caused difficulties.” (EBW, Diary, 2 May 1875.)

  6. [6]EBW lived in a two-story house at 243 South 100 East (also called State Street), which Daniel H. Wells had provided for her and her daughters. (Madsen, Intimate History, 110–111 and Fig. 19.)

  7. [7]For joining police in an endeavor to disband a Liberal Party mob at city hall on election day, 3 August 1874, Mayor Daniel H. Wells was arrested and put under bond, as was the chief of police. The whole matter was dropped quickly. (“Wells, Daniel Hanmer,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:64–65; Wells, Defender, 341–344; for another reference to Wells’s trial, see EBW, Diary, 15 Aug. 1874.)

  8. [8]text: Page break occurs between “des” and “titute”.

  9. [9]The early name for Park City, Summit Co., Utah.

  10. [10]Wasatch Warm Springs was an enclosed spa with mineral baths for men and women built north of Salt Lake City by 1850. (Lutz, “Cleaned Up and Cleaned Out,” 9–10.)

  11. [11]The Wasatch Literary Association was organized in February 1874 by Orson F. Whitney in EBW’s sitting room. Young friends of her daughter Emma presented papers and entertainment for each other. (Walker, “Growing Up in Early Utah,” 63; Hinckley, Daniel Hanmer Wells, 356–357.)

  12. [12]Women met semimonthly in the centrally located Fourteenth Ward meetinghouse as the Junior and Senior Cooperative Retrenchment Association. (Derr et al., Women of Covenant, 114.)

  13. [13]The Woman’s Exponent was published in Salt Lake City between 1872 and 1914. “Begun by Edward Sloan, an editor of the Salt Lake Herald, the Exponent was first edited by Louisa Lula Greene (Richards), then for nearly thirty-five years by Emmeline B. Wells.” (Derr et al., Women of Covenant, 108–109.)

  14. [14]Relief Society sisters gave blessings of comfort and prophecy to each other. (See Derr et al., First Fifty Years, xxiv–xxv.)

  15. [15]Alice Young.

  16. [16]Melvina Whitney, EBW’s daughter, married William Dunford in 1867. They divorced after having three children. His addiction to alcohol may have been a cause. (Madsen, Intimate History, 124.)

  17. [17]See EBW (Blanche Beechwood, pseud.), “Make the Best of It,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Sept. 1874, 3:55; for more on EBW’s use of “Blanche Beechwood,” see Madsen, Advocate for Women, 51–54.

  18. [18]Later called visiting teachers, women were sent two-by-two from the Relief Society to look after the needs of the sisters of the ward, lift their spirits, and collect contributions of food or cash to distribute to the poor. (Derr et al., Women of Covenant, 32–33, 91–92.)

  19. [19]Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney.

  20. [20]Globe Bakery.

  21. [21]The residence of Daniel H. Wells, with his other five plural wives and their children, was located on the corner of Main and South Temple Streets. Annie Wells Cannon recalled that “each wife had her own separate apartment—sitting room, bedrooms, dining room and kitchen. Aunt Louisa occupied the lower west side, in which was the large family parlor with its open fireplace, comfortable chairs and family piano.” (Hinckley, Daniel Hanmer Wells, 345.)