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February 1878


1 February 1878 • Friday

Today we went to Aunt Zina [D. Huntington Young]’s visiting Yesterday was her birthday fifty-seven, she has gone to Springville to see her brother.1

Mother [Elizabeth Ann Smith] Whitney was there and came home with me. Br. [Charles W.] & Sister [Lucetta Stratford] Penrose and Jessie [Penrose] were ther. Rob spent the evening here with Lou. Annie went to Sharp’s to hear the Italians sing.

This has been a very sad day for me. I feel so solemn I scarcely can be cheerful.

We have had so many unpleasant things transpire– I hate scenes of all kinds indeed I have borne so much sorrow in my life that it seems impossible to do more or endure more. [p. 54] {p. 56}

2 February 1878 • Saturday

We have been mailing all day. so many visitors. M. [Milton] H. Hardy called among others. I have been so wounded in my heart– I can scarce contain myself.

Mother went up with me to see sister Eliza. Elvira [Stevens Barney] came and helped me with petitions Joe Sharp Frank Kimball, Jule [Julia Young Burton] was here. Everything was quite pleasant at home.

2How many trials come to us in this life, how much of suffering we are called upon to bear and how few are the friends who cling close to us in the hour of trial.

At evening when seated around the hearth pleasant feelings spring up in our hearts and a pure affection towards each other, if life were all as smooth and serene [p. 55] {p. 57}

3 February 1878 • Sunday

All day struggling along and trying to get ready to go to meeting but could not succeed Em. is a little better and we feel of course elated about it.

Sister Howard went with me to the ward meeting in the evening. Rulon [S. Wells] and Br. Penrose preached the subject was mostly a union of Church and State.

I was agreeably entertained after my return home. Rob. is going away again tomorrow morning.

There are many sad things to think of in our affairs. I am nearer thrown upon my own resources than ever before. I trust all will result favorably yet I see no outcome at present at all auspicious. [p. 56] {p. 58}

4 February 1878 • Monday

At work in the office as usual, Sent off the Remonstrance3 Sister Eliza R. Snow Sister M.I. Horne & Lydia Ann all came to see me and as I was more than ordinarily busy they aided me in getting the petitions rolled up.

Sent them by express. I wonder how Br. [George Q.] Cannon will receive them. I wrote him a note asking him in behalf of the women of Utah to present them to the Congress.4

I never thought in days gone by that things would have been so strangely brought about as they are. I know that great things have been developed among this people and with me. [p. 57] {p. 59}

5 February 1878 • Tuesday

Polly is ever and ever so bad with rheumatism it makes my burden still heavier than ever. She is very patient and kind. Emma is better. We are all of us interested in Em’s health. we cannot bear to see her ill, she is so good and such a source of comfort to me.

My business seems to increase and if everything remains as prosperous <as> now for any length of time we shall be able to make it advantageous.

I am very grateful to God for all His mercies and blessings in giving me powers and faculties that are a constant source of wealth to my mind my spirit is usually invigorated and buoyed up, and I am able to bear all that devolves upon me. [p. 58] {p. 60}

6 February 1878 • Wednesday

The Wasatch met at the other house.5 Alfilus Young called and escorted Annie to attend.

Some unpleasantness occurred in consequence of Mr. Bonner being there. The Tribune gave an exaggerated account of Bonner’s intimacy at the house next morning.6

I was at home busy with revising articles for the paper Frank was at the Wasatch Several of the young boys were here with Louie

Our young folks enjoy life: they know little of the toils we have had to endure. Lutie is still here with us. Em. begins to come down stairs and amuse herself a little. [p. 59] {p. 61}

7 February 1878 • Thursday

I called upon my husband this morning to invite him to dine here with Penrose’s. he was more than ever affectionate, that is in demonstratation.

I have been to see Belle who has been very ill all the week and Mr. Sears is in San Francisco.

Her leg which has not been troubling her before for years is now running and she is in a very uncertain state of health.

Dot is staying over here with us.

The weather is very stormy and disagreeable. The War in the East7 is assuming wonderful proportions and is likely to get Europe all into the difficulty yet Went to see the Telephone at President’s Office8 [p. 60] {p. 62}

8 February 1878 • Friday

It is rather a nice day. cold though and very muddy.

Br. Penrose called for me in his buggy.

When we arrived at home my husband was already there, and Mrs. & Miss Penrose also Mrs. Zina [Young] Williams. The girls had everything in excellent order and everything passed off pleasantly.

Mrs. Louise [King] Spencer and Mrs. Ferguson called in the evening but did not stay to spend any time. We had a very nice social visit.

All seemed to enjoy it. My husband staid and I never remember having a more delightful conversation than at that time. [p. 61] {p. 63}

9 February 1878 • Saturday

This is of course an exceedingly busy day

I have been trying to get time to visit the Legislature9 but no opportunity presents itself whatever. More work all the time instead of less.

The girls are doing what they can to help me but I do not wish to cast upon them the cares of life now but let them first develop under as favorable circumstances as possible their utmost capabilities for future usefulness.

Polly is not better and Em is not feeling well at all probably over-excitement yesterday Storms keep coming. [p. 62] {p. 64}

10 February 1878 • Sunday

This morning Em. was taken quite ill again. We were going to Mell’s to dinner but could not on that account. Stayed all day to wait on her except about two hours at Mell’s to dinner took Louie down with me.

Rulon came in the evening Frank and some of the younger boys. Em feels very low-spirited in regard to her health. It is very discouraging for a young girl.

I am glad to be able to do as much as I do towards helping with housekeeping.

I am weary and tired but tomorrow if Em. is better I shall be light-hearted. [p. 63] {p. 65}

11 February 1878 • Monday

<I went at 10 o’clock to vote>10 Em. is better this morning and although it is very stormy I feel all right and glad I can go to the office and perform my regular duties.

It is snowing terribly.

Annie does not attend morning lectures now, and so she can be more useful at home. Polly is not much better yet.

Some old letters of long standing have been answered to-day I have not had a respite as yet for a long time from additional cares and now they seem to accumulate the Suffrage petitions the grain the silk all these things and a hundred more demand attention. [p. 64] {p. 66}

12 February 1878 • Tuesday

Tues Very stormy and disagreeable. this evening the class in Anatomy met at my office for the first time. Mrs. Pratt is very kind and extremely courteous and polite to me I like her very much indeed, and am deeply interested in the work in which they are engaged, believe it most truly to be one of the noblest occupations woman can choose for a life-work. If I were young now I would choose it before any other. I hope some of our young women will make themselves proficient in this profession, now open for women. The girls are gone to the party. [p. 65] {p. 67}

13 February 1878 • Wednesday

Today I was to have gone to the Annual Meeting in the 8th. Ward and to Bishop [Elijah F.] Sheets to supper, but could not as it was publishing day.

It was very wet and stormy. I went over to Sister [Rachel Ivins] Grants for a few minutes to the sewing meeting, we arranged to have a Teachers Meeting before the other meeting commencing at One. o’clock to transact our business In the evening Lou. went to the Theatre and we spent the evening reading [George Gordon, Lord] Byron’s Life & Letters. May the Lord help us to endure all things and remain faithful. How glad I am Em. is improving. [p. 66] {p. 68}

14 February 1878 • Thursday

To-day have been busy with letters answered ten business letters. Valentine Day the children are amused Onie [Verona Dunford] in particular.

Some one sent me a ridiculous valentine also a mysterious letter.

Rob came home today Annie & I went up to the theatre Budd escorted us and bought our tickets.

Rob came home with me. he is feeling better I think and more like himself.

Dot has got a very bad cough, and is quite ill.

Mrs. [Hannah Tapfield] King & Hannah Wells paid me a visit to day at my office. [p. 67] {p. 69}

15 February 1878 • Friday

To-day Mrs. Gen. [Harriet] Bane called upon me. She is extremly pleasant in manner and seems quite friendly to our people.11

She remained to hear Mrs. Pratt M.D. lecture, and manifested deep interest.

Rob. called at the office to-day and read some articles for me.

The evening mail brought me a letter from Washington from Mrs. [Sara Andrews] Spencer concerning our petitions for Suffrage: it was written in a friendly tone and expressed sincere friendship for me and for our people.12 I consider this one of the events of my life. Surely my day-star is rising [p. 68] {p. 70}

16 February 1878 • Saturday

This has been a busy day. I was running errands all morning. Went to the 14th. Ward Meeting in the afternoon. Spoke to the audience for a few minutes and read to them some resolutions of the women of the world.13 Also a letter by C. F. F. [C. F. T.] published in the Woman’s Journal of Feb. 10.14

Came back from meeting to go on with mailing soon after my husband came in, then Eliza R. Snow came and informed me my name was upon the paper gotten up to show to Br. [John] Taylor preparatory to forming a permanent organization.15 The office being Corresponding Secretary rec’d a letter from Mrs. Kimball. [p. 69] {p. 71}

17 February 1878 • Sunday

This morning felt very unpleasant talking with Emma about her future prospects. Then Mrs. —— came and made me feel so uncomfortable, telling me such a lot of gossip. and referring to many unpleasant things which transpired in the past. Whether I can endure all or not I am not prepared to say but sorrows press heavily upon me. I helped with dinner Polly came down to dinner the first time for a long time. The moon rose beautifully to-night and when I gazed it upon it my hearts seemed to say An Omen of Good. [p. 70] {p. 72}

Footnotes

  1. [1]Two brothers lived in Springville: William D. Huntington and Oliver B. Huntington. (Culmer, Utah Directory and Gazetteer, 256.)

  2. [2]text: The rest of this page may have been written later, as the ink flow and character size differ from the previous text on the page.

  3. [3]“Remonstrance” refers to the women’s petition to Congress. (See EBW, Diary, 2 Jan. 1878, footnote.)

  4. [4]George Q. Cannon served as Utah territorial delegate to the U.S. Congress from 1872 to 1882. (“Chronology,” Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed 12 Mar. 2020, /george-q-cannon/events?lang=eng.)

  5. [5]Large home owned by Daniel H. Wells located on the southeast corner of South Temple and Main Streets, where five of his wives and their children lived.

  6. [6]Eugene Bonner, an alias for E. S. B. Walton, was labeled a “matrimonial adventurer” by a journalist for the Salt Lake Tribune. After escapades in Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, and California, the supposedly “sincere and pious young man” worked his way into the confidence of church leaders and “asked the favor of being allowed to board with the ex-Mayor [Daniel H. Wells]” while he sought his fortune by romancing “susceptible young ladies.” (“Eugene Bonner,” Salt Lake Daily Tribune, 7 Feb. 1878, 4.)

  7. [7]The Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), a conflict that later involved Great Britain and Austria-Hungary. Fighting ended with the Treaty of Berlin in July 1878. (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, s.v. “Russo-Turkish Wars,” accessed 4 Mar. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Russo-Turkish-wars; for articles EBW may have read about the war, see “Foreign,” and “The Eastern War,” Salt Lake Daily Herald, 6 Feb. 1878, [2]; and “Foreign,” Salt Lake Daily Herald, 7 Feb. 1878, [2].)

  8. [8]A test of the telephone was made between the offices of John Taylor and Edward Hunter, which were a block apart. EBW and others heard voices and music transmitted. Observers were permitted to ask a question and receive an answer. EBW predicted that the device might be “practicable in many ways.” (“Home Affairs,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1878, 6:141.)

  9. [9]Women were lobbying for a bill that permitted women who could vote in Utah Territory to hold offices like school superintendent. The bill eventually was vetoed by Governor George W. Emery. (“Home Affairs,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Mar. 1878, 6:149.)

  10. [10]EBW reported, “The Municipal Election passed off more harmoniously than appearances seemed to indicate. The People’s Ticket carried by a large majority.” (“Editorial Notes,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1878, 6:140.)

  11. [11]Harriet Bane was the wife of Moses M. Bane, a federal official who served as receiver in the Land Office. Harriet became allied with the Utah Anti-Polygamy Society, which organized in November 1878. Although Harriet and EBW spoke of each other with respect, they generally stood on opposing sides of women’s issues in Utah. (Hayward, “Utah’s Anti-polygamy Society,” 19; Register of the Department of the Interior, 1877, 64.)

  12. [12]Sara Andrews Spencer was secretary of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1874 to 1881. She also functioned as publisher and writer of the journal Woman’s Words beginning in 1878. Her letter welcomed the petitions sent by Utah women to support national causes and asked, “Can you not send me the Exponent? I need material to work with, knowing so little of your people.” (“Sara Andrews Spencer,” First Fifty Years, 678; “Explanatory,” Woman’s Words [Philadelphia], July 1878, 232; “R. S. Reports,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Mar. 1878, 6:154.)

  13. [13]See “Home Affairs,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Mar. 1878, 6:148; and “Memorial of the Board of Trustees,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Mar. 1878, 6:151.

  14. [14]C. F. T., “Is It Noble or Weak?,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Feb. 1878, 6:135; C. F. T., “Is It Noble or Weak?,” Woman’s Journal [Boston], 12 Jan. 1878, 13.

  15. [15]At the sisters’ conference of 18 June 1880, church president John Taylor organized general presidencies of three organizations—the Relief Society, the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association, and the Primary Association. For a time, EBW assisted Sarah M. Kimball, who was secretary to Eliza R. Snow, the general president of the Relief Society. In 1888, EBW served as corresponding secretary on the “central board” under Zina D. H. Young. From 1892 to 1910, EBW served as general secretary of the general board under Young and later Bathsheba W. Smith. In 1910, EBW was named fifth general president of the Relief Society. (Centenary of Relief Society, 22–28; see also Hinckley, Daniel Hanmer Wells, 357; and Madsen, Intimate History, 201, 264–265.)