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May 1875


1 May 1875 • Saturday

Sat. May 1. Em. An. & Lou. all went out May-walking,1 were gone all day, I went to the meeting in the 14th. Ward and took mother, in the evening was all alone

2 May 1875 • Sunday

Sun. May 2. Wrote all day had Belle here, Em. went up to Belle’s and staid all day, in the evening Mr. Hendrie came and staid [p. 180] {p. 182} until late half-past twelve; it seemed refreshing after such an interval of time since he had been in our midst. If he could only realize the necessity of obeying the Gospel how happy we should all be. I cannot describe to any one my feelings in regard to these things.

2This 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. [p. 181] {p. 183}

Diary E. B. Wells.

May 1. 1875

[title page]

3 May 1875 • Monday

Mon. May 3. 1875 I went up to the office,3 went over to the big house4 at noon: Mother had been there since Saturday; it was Susan’s birthday, her mother5 was also there visiting; took lunch with them, saw all the folks nearly, Miss Cook called in, several other persons were in through the day. I was not feeling very well, went over after mother and took her down home; saw Will. on the way down.

4 May 1875 • Tuesday

Tues. May 4. Was at the office all day Miss [Cornelia H.] Horne was there Miss Cook came in after school, we talked a long time, Joseph A Young was in and talked considerably. the evening was a dull one, Em.. had anticipated going to hear “[Petroleum V.] Nasby” and was disappointed in it: we both were extremely annoyed over the affair; Mrs Mazers [Anna Mieth Maeser] and her daughter6 Mrs. Maggie [Margaret Hunter] Groo were here, Joshua was here too,

5 May 1875 • Wednesday

Wednes. May 5. Spent the day in the office took mother with me, called on George A. Smith called on Mrs. Mary Ann [Angell] Young Joseph [A.] Young called in at the office; took mother over to Horace [K. Whitney]’s in the afternoon, called over for her in the evening. Harry came and took Em. to the association;7 I was alone with mother, I went up to the Post Office and took Annie, while we were away my friend8 came, I grieved that I was absent but perhaps it was all for the best, I pray God to give me wisdom to govern and control and guide all my finest and truest feelings of sacred companionship..

6 May 1875 • Thursday

Thurs. May 6. I went early to the office worked hard at the desk until nearly two o’clock, then came home and took mother to our meeting;9 we had a pleasant time, soon after we reached home it commenced raining; I had occasion to go out and make some purchases and became thoroughly drenched, the wind blew fearfully and the rain poured down; called on Zina [Young Williams]; met an old acquaintance Harry Emory came and took Emma to a party, Clawson’s Louie & Annie are both very unwell, the air seems much purified by the rain, Mrs. [Mary] Braithwaite is dead was buried to day leaves many grand<children> [p. 1]

7 May 1875 • Friday

Friday May 7. Went to the office the weather was very cold and disagreeable, managed to sit through the day however; the evening we had a good fire there are many robberies and outrages being perpetrated at the present time, they almost frighten one seriously;

8 May 1875 • Saturday

Sat. May 8. Jethro [H.] Whitney is twenty-seven today; the weather is rainy but crops were greatly in need of it, left the office early it being so cold and wet. Em. went up to Belle’s, and all the younger girls to meeting they got dripping wet.

9 May 1875 • Sunday

Sun. May 9. Mother[,] Em. & myself went to the 14th. Ward to hear Br. Orson Pratt and in the evening to the 13th. to hear Br. Groo. Harry and some others were here in the evening;

10 May 1875 • Monday

Mon. May 10. This is one of the most memorable days to me on record always remembered by me with peculiar feelings of interest and tenderness. Mother went to Horace’s today after having been here a week. Pres.t. Young’s suit was decided today in his favor;10 Br. George A Smith is very ill. I have been for some time now engaged upon Mother [Elizabeth Ann Smith] Whitney’s autobiography and it really seems interminable. about ten o’clock Mr. Hendrie came and staid until very late, invited Em. to go with him to call on Hanmer, Thurs. Evening, had a bed of strawberries put out today

11 May 1875 • Tuesday

Tues. <May 11.> Spent the day as usual, had a great many callers, our office is very pleasant, in the evening I had company at home, was very busy; nothing new or strange weather very dull and unpleasant, <Mr. Hendrie and Em. called on Mell.>

12 May 1875 • Wednesday

Wednes. May 12. Em went to the association at [Ellen Cobleigh] Richardson’s Belle came and took me [for] a ride Miss Cook called and spent two or three hours, we got our carpets put down in the office.

13 May 1875 • Thursday

Thurs. May 13. Mother came to the office to go to mine and stay all night and go out on the excursion for the old folks;11 the girls all went to the meeting and got caught in the rain, were dripping wet, and so was I coming from the office. [p. 2]

14 May 1875 • Friday

Friday May 14. Went down to the depot with Mother and saw the old folks excursion party. all seemed pleasant and well pleased, rather excited of the tou[r] for the occasion. I wish them joy and hope they may not meet with any accident, it is a lovely day. went to the office and worked hard all day as usual. Mrs. L. G. Richards went on the excursion. took her baby12 and I had proof to read all day, my husband13 called on me in the office and staid about two hours, Junius called too, as well as some others. Mother got home safe about nine o’clock Sister Eliza came with her; Sister Grant called and Heber [J. Grant], to speak about some sick who were in need of assistance. Mother was almost tired out and could scarcely talk at all, but had enjoyed herself splendidly, and will never forget this day.

15 May 1875 • Saturday

Sat. May 15. To day the wind has blown terribly, went to the bank, the papers came from press, about three o,clock; Mrs. Richards and Miss Horne both went to meeting and Mother too, Sister Eliza presented Mrs. Horne with a wreath made of the hair14 of the Young Lady Secretaries, by Miss C. H. Horne, in the evening I went up town to do some trading Dutch John [Kramer] was killed this morning, by [John] Wiggins15 Prof. Thomas has a benefit at the Theatre to night. a party of excursionists went to Salt Lake this morning.

16 May 1875 • Sunday

Sun. May 16. Louie went out on the Western Railway to Clinton’s,16 with Josephine Sp[e]ncer Georgie Clawson and Ruthie [Ruth] Young, Mell came down in the morning and brought the children, Belle came about noon, with hers, Lou. got home half-past one; the new Tabernacle was opened today.17 We have had a shower or two some wind thunder etc. passed a pleasant day mother is still here, Mr. Tanner and Lile called with baby.18 [p. 3] this evening the house is full of boys as usual.

17 May 1875 • Monday

Mon. May 17. I went and opened the office in the morning and finished some work we were doing, Em came up at noon and said how sick she was and I went home with her immediately, she was very ill indeed and I felt quite alarmed about her, I went and got a new medicine for her Dr. Kennedy’s New Medical Discovery she continued very ill all the afternoon and night. I have not been well myself for some time, I was very lonely in regard to myself and her both and it seemed really as if I had no one to comfort me or to lean upon at such times; many women of my temperament have a husband whose attentions are at such times comforting while I have no one and I would rather suffer agonies in my feelings than say even to my husband I am in need of sympathy. yet sometimes I feel it is almost cruel to be thus compelled to suffer alone when there are kind and tender ones who would gladly extend a soothing comforting influence, and I am too proud to accept it; in the evening Rulon and Heber [M. Wells] called, otherwise I was alone with her; Mother Whitney left here today and went up to Horace’s. after having been here some time, she is getting very weak in mind, and no one realizes it as those do who are constantly with her. trusting in God is all we poor mortals can rely upon with any certainty. Mrs. Richards moved to the twentieth Ward today

18 May 1875 • Tuesday

Tues. May 18. Em. dressed and went for tried to go to school but was too sick and had to give it up. and go back to bed. she cried and felt dreadful bad about it, but it was really unavoidable. I assisted with the mailing for the first time; Mrs. C. I. [Charlotte Ives Cobb] Godbe made us a call today, telling us all the particulars of her acquaintance with S. R. Wells.19 and many other things. Mrs. Richards was very tired and unable to attend to the office duties. [p. 4]

Harry Emory invited Emma to go out Friday afternoon on an excursion party. Rul. Hebe. May Nette [Susan Annette Wells] Em. and others called on Em. today. Kate and several other young ladies have commenced studying medicine. I am very weary tonight Mrs. Goddard called. O what would I give to speak to someone who could comfort me.

19 May 1875 • Wednesday

Wednes. May 19. This is a most delightful day Em. is a little better she went to the offi school-room this morning, Mrs. M. A. [Mary Ann] Young called in at the office and was very pleasant, Lile & baby called, Belle and Dot. I went out on the street-cars to Mell’s and took dinner, she came back with me, and spent an hour or two at the office, was very entertaining; Mr. Hendrie called about half-past four sat down and chatted for a few minutes cheerfully; we have had lots of callers, some on business, some for pastime. Harry Emery came and took Emma to the association. we were alone during the evening;

20 May 1875 • Thursday

Thurs. May 20. Went to the office as usual, had some gentlemen from the country the first thing. Sister E. R. Snow and Sister Horne called today; I could not leave to go to the meeting as Mrs. Richards was not at the office on account of baby being sick. Belle came to take me a ride and I could not leave; I sent a note to my husband, asking for some shoes and other things: but did not get any definite answer, Em. went up to Belle’s after school, Louie finished her fancy-work lessons today. They both went to the Retrenchment meeting.20

21 May 1875 • Friday

Friday May 21. Another day of office work writing etc. a very pleasant day,

22 May 1875 • Saturday

Sat. May 22. A busy day Miss Horne in the office all day long, Mrs. Richards was to[o] busy to come down,

23 May 1875 • Sunday

Sun. May 23. I was at home all day resting and reading, my husband sent me some new things with which I was extremely pleased, went up to Mellie’s in the evening [p. 5]

24 May 1875 • Monday

Mon. May 24. One of the most lovely days I ever knew, bright warm and sunshiny, everything pleasant as possible, went and bought Daisie [D. Dunford] a dress in the evening, went up to Mellie’s to take it Mr. Hendrie came in the evening staid a few hours..

25 May 1875 • Tuesday

Tues. May 25. The weather is extremely fine Mrs. Richards mother21 came on the morning train from north, Br. Lorenzo [Snow] came in and talked to us a great deal, kept us at the office until very late. We have had lots of calls from different ones.

26 May 1875 • Wednesday

Wednes. May 26. Today we had our signs put up, Br. George A. Smith is very bad indeed; little hopes can be entertained of his recovery. Mayor Loren [Lorin] Farr from Ogden was in the office during the day and told us of some evil influences which had made their appearance in the young people’s meetings, Miss Cook came home with me and spent the evening.

27 May 1875 • Thursday

Thurs. May 27. Mother came over to the office and was there all day, nearly went to see Mrs. M. A. Young a little while with Mrs. S. K. Green, just at [illegible]22 of closing the office after we had locked the door my dear friend came and asked me to go with him to ride but I had mother to take home and could not go with him; how sorry I was, how unfortunate it seemed any other time almost I could have gone with him and now it just happened that I could not how long I had been waiting for an opportunity to see him and talk over some things which were upon my mind and now just when everything seemed so desirable and favorable then fate was against me; [p. 6]

28 May 1875 • Friday

Friday May 28. George A. Smith is very sick indeed there is very little hope of his recovery, I passed the day almost alone Lula could not come down Mother came up to the office and visited with Sister Green, and I took her to Horace’s.

29 May 1875 • Saturday

Sat. May 29. Miss Cornelia and myself were at the office all day Mrs. Richards did not come at all, her father23 and family have come from Cache Valley, and <are> on their way to to St. George: I took mother down to Mary Jane’s and came home very late but just in time to see Louie dressed ready to appear upon the stage, she is going to sing “Nora Darling” alone at Miss Dellie [Lucy Ardella] Clawson’s benefit, I was alone all the evening, at least with Annie:

30 May 1875 • Sunday

Sun. May 30. This is the Decoration Day; the <people of the> celebration are to form in a procession at the Court House and proceed to Camp Douglas where there will be speeches etc. at the cemetery, I called on Mrs. Richards and on my return home called on Mrs. Susanna [Neslen] Spencer and her daughter,24 something unpleasant occurred while there which caused me to feel very melancholy, showing me plainly how uncertain friendships’ are and how few really true men and women there are in the world. Mother came and Mary Jane and all the children. Elvira Barney and her boy, Mrs. Charlotte Godbe & [Nehemiah] Park Woods called and spent the evening; Park has just come down from the can̄on.25

31 May 1875 • Monday

Mon. May 30 [31]. This is Decoration Day; and is going to be observed by the military and Gentile residents as a day of devotion to the ever illustrious dead; The Governor and officers of the Territory and City are to participate the services will be performed at Camp Douglas cemetery; President Smith is no better; I called on Mrs. Richards and Mrs. Spencer & Marden. Mother went to the endowment house this morning with Sarah Maria Kimball to get her endowments [p. 7] the wind has been very high today; Zina [Young Williams]’s baby26 is very sick Annie went down and helped her, Mrs. Caroline M. [Seymour] Severance <from Boston> and Mrs. _______ [Varnell] from Washington called at the office, I had just locked it and gone to the Post Office but met them on the street and was introduced had some conversation with them about papers, woman’s work, publishing &c. both very pleasing ladies:27 Mellie came down in the afternoon to go to the exhibition, Will [William W. Woods] called for her and took Emma I gave Annie money to go; Adeline and May [Mary Josephine Earl] called in the evening I was alone when John and Carloss came. <John was> drunk. I am sick and tired of hearing men talk in their drunken moods;

Footnotes

  1. [1]Young people celebrated 1 May by sharing baskets of flowers with their friends and participating in other activities. (“Loveliest Month of Day,” Sunday World-Herald [NE], 3 May 1891, 12; Jennie Moores, “Some May Day Frolics,” Fort Worth Morning Register [TX], 4 May 1897, 4.)

  2. [2]text: The following was inscribed by EBW’s daughter Annie, who later kept up EBW’s diary entries.

  3. [3]Office of the Woman’s Exponent, semimonthly publication published in Salt Lake City (1872–1914). At this time EBW assisted editor Louisa Lula Greene Richards. (See Derr et al., First Fifty Years, 373–375.)

  4. [4]The big house refers to the home of Daniel H. Wells located on the south side of South Temple Street just east of Main Street. EBW was living in the house he had built for her on 243 South 100 East (also called State Street). (See Madsen, Intimate History, 112–113.)

  5. [5]Mary Symonds Alley.

  6. [6]Anna Ottilie Maeser.

  7. [7]Wasatch Literary Association. For a description, see EBW, Diary, 19 Aug. 1874, footnote.

  8. [8]References to “a friend” usually refer to businessman William C. Hendrie, who managed Hendrie Bros., manufacturer of mining machinery in Salt Lake City. (Sloan, ed., Salt Lake City Directory 1874, 228.) Hendrie is mentioned often in this volume. He became friends of the family through William Woods, who was married to EBW’s daughter Melvina, and joined in activities of the Wasatch Literary Association. He frequently visited at EBW’s home, taking Emma Wells on social outings and conversing with EBW on literary topics. Although Hendrie seemed drawn to the Wells family and said he loved EBW as a mother, he chose not to embrace the family’s religious faith. (Madsen, Intimate History, 142–145.)

  9. [9]Visiting teaching report meeting was held the first Thursday afternoon of each month.

  10. [10]Ann Eliza Webb Young’s alimony case against Brigham Young was dismissed on 10 May by Judge David Lowe. (“Ruling Reversed,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 1875, 2; “Pendente Lite,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 1875, 4.) Judge Jacob Boreman later reversed that decision, and issues dragged on until April 1877. (Arrington, Brigham Young, 373.)

  11. [11]The first annual excursion for the elderly featured a train ride to the Great Salt Lake and steamboat trips on the City of Corinne. Bishop Edward Hunter, George Goddard, and Charles R. Savage served as committee members. John W. Young, president of the Utah Northern and Utah Western Rail Roads, arranged transportation. (“Never to Be Forgotten,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 June 1875, 4:5.)

  12. [12]Mary Greene Richards.

  13. [13]Daniel H. Wells.

  14. [14]Wreaths made of hair, particularly popular between 1850 and 1875, were a type of handwork designed to express friendship. Often a “gimping technique” was used: “First the hair was put into small groupings of between 10 and 80 hairs, twisted around a knitting needle, and then bound around the bottom by fine intertwined wires” in a horseshoe shape to denote good luck. (See “Exhibitions: Hair Wreath.”)

  15. [15]After a disagreement in a saloon, bar owner John Wiggins and John Kramer, a heavy drinker nicknamed Dutch John, had a confrontation on the street, during which Wiggins shot and killed Kramer. (“Exit ‘Dutch John,’” Salt Lake Tribune, 16 May 1875, 4.) Wiggins eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to four years in prison. (“Jack Wiggins,” Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Apr. 1877, 4.)

  16. [16]Dr. Jeter Clinton’s hotel, located on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake at Lake Point, was where the steamer docked and excursion passengers connected with the Western Railway to and from the city. (Morgan, Great Salt Lake, 353–354; “Resorts Flourished at Great Salt Lake,” Deseret News, 29 Mar. 1998.)

  17. [17]The New Tabernacle, completed in 1867, housed worship services for townspeople nearly every Sunday.

  18. [18]Dorothy Wallin.

  19. [19]Samuel R. Wells was editor of the Phrenological Journal, located at 737 Broadway in New York, an address EBW noted in her 13 June 1877 diary entry. (See Walker, Wayward Saints, 66, 70; EBW, Diary, 13 June 1877.)

  20. [20]Junior Retrenchment stood as companion organization to the Women’s Cooperative Retrenchment Association in promoting modesty in dress, refining speech, and controlling economic expenditures under Brigham Young’s reforms of the 1870s. It was the predecessor of the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association. (See Derr et al., First Fifty Years, 353; and EBW, Diary, 22 Aug. 1874, footnote, and 2 Mar. 1875, footnote.)

  21. [21]Susan Kent Greene.

  22. [22]text: Obscured by an ink blot that extends three lines below.

  23. [23]Evan Molbourne Greene.

  24. [24]Susan Eunice Spencer.

  25. [25]text: EBW generally uses a caron over her “n” (ň) to indicate an alternative spelling for “canyon,” but in this particular instance, a macron is used (n̄).

  26. [26]Thomas Edgar Williams Jr.

  27. [27]Their visit is noted in the Woman’s Exponent. (“Notes and News,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 June 1875, 4:9.)