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February 1879

1 February 1879 • Saturday

Arrived in Chicago at 6 o’clock went to the Palmer House1 met Mr. Lapham. member of Congress from Mich.2 had our hair dressed, took breakfast rode to Railway office secured pass–

2 February 1879 • Sunday

Left Chicago <Omaha> [Nebraska] 10.30 elegant Car International– met Mr. Young of Bath New York, Nice young man Judge Cary and sister were on train went to bed at 1.30– crowded train [p. 33] {p. 33}

3 February 1879 • Monday

We had rather an unpleasant day, wind blew furiously and snow flew took dinner at Cheyenne, company very pleasant, young Doctor on board who knew Lieut. [Richard W.] Young Mrs. Hayes, Mrs. Graham Mr. Lillenthal all agreeable people.3

4 February 1879 • Tuesday

Morning very windy. Zina went out to breakfast. We are all getting acquainted, Scenery begins to be more pleasing. arrived safe, safe at home met all the girls at the depot except Annie– Rule [Rulon S. Wells] come with a sleigh, and Rob. [Robert W. Sloan] with a carriage

5 February 1879 • Wednesday

We went to see Br. [John] Taylor and made a report of our journey to him and the brethren– he was specially kind– everything is entirely different here at home it seems to me there is a lethargy here in regard to [p. 34] {p. 34} affairs now pending

6 February 1879 • Thursday

Went to Ogden to attend meeting. met in Union Hall.4 I made the first speech. Zina the next then Aunt Eliza [R. Snow]. returned home by evening train. found all the folks feeling badly saw my husband next day.

7 February 1879 • Friday

Went to the Office crowds of visitors Mr. Sears started for San Francisco we all went down to Belle [Isabel Whitney Sears]’s in the evening– Rob came down for us. went up to Dessie’s [Martha Deseret Wells] and everywhere to see the folks. my husband came home with me.

8 February 1879 • Saturday

Crowded office all the time– so much to do were occupied all the time answering questions getting interviewed. no chance to write sent a telegram to Br. Cannon. did not get any response. [p. 35] {p. 35}

9 February 1879 • Sunday

Went up to Mellie [Melvina Whitney Woods]’s and then to Mr. [James P.] Dwyer’s to take dinner, was cordially rec’d staid until seven. then went to Horace [K. Whitney]’s and spent the evening. Rob and Louie came up and met us. Rob staid very late.

10 February 1879 • Monday

Business hurry and bustle– callers etc. out every evening Monday evening went to Mrs. [Mary Isabella Hales] Horne’s, Mrs. [Elizabeth Anderson] Howard, [Elmina Shepard] Taylor[,] [Sarepta Blodgett] Heywood, and others were present. Mrs. Howard took sick and had to go home.

11 February 1879 • Tuesday

Was busy all day and went up to Mrs. Anna [Gibson] Sharp’s in the evening had a pleasant time and came home and went down to see Zina who was going to Provo next morning she was half asleep and totally indifferent. [p. 36] {p. 36}

12 February 1879 • Wednesday

The day was stormy and rain poured in torrents went up to Mrs. [Lillias Lyon] Staines and had tea spent the evening pleasantly and felt quite happy hearing Mrs. Staines talk. came home in pouring rain.

13 February 1879 • Thursday

Went to the President’s office with the statement I made to Pres. Hayes saw George Reynolds– my husband seems very indifferent which makes me feel rather queer and perhaps not right.

14 February 1879 • Friday

To-day made all calculations to go to Belle’s saw Br [Septimus Wagstaff] Sears go off to San Francisco, Belle feeling terribly. it is thirty four years to-day since I became the wife of the Mormon Delegate God Blest. <Bishop>5 [p. 37] {p. 37}

15 February 1879 • Saturday

Went to the 14th. Ward Meeting and occupied nearly all the afternoon in speaking about our visit to Washington. The house was crowded. Went in the evening to hear the Mnistels [Minister] John Lucer

16 February 1879 • Sunday

We all went to Belle’s to dinner– I went to meeting first, Jo. [Joseph B.] Toronto and Rob were there we spent the evening had a very pleasant time My heart seems very heavy all the time, nowadays.

17 February 1879 • Monday

Met Br. Angus [M. Cannon] this morning and he came up here and we talked a great deal about a new office. He is quite willing I should have a room in the Council House6 if I can get Br. Taylor’s leave [p. 38] {p. 38}

18 February 1879 • Tuesday

The days pass and no great event transpires Ort [Orson F. Whitney] has gone away Rob comes in now and then but somehow I feel very low-spirited all the time.

19 February 1879 • Wednesday

I have been writing letters to some of the ladies whom I met East but have not received any <news> except from newspaper reports etc. our own people seem very glad we made the visit.

20 February 1879 • Thursday

Mailing all done, sister7 better ready to go out and visit– have seen most of my friends all welcome me warmly I thank God I was the first to represent our women in the Halls of Congress. [p. 39] {p. 39}

21 February 1879 • Friday

Tomorrow is the grand Masquerade at the Theatre8 for which everybody is preparing. All is hurry and hustle and the newspapers and stores all business will be closed.

22 February 1879 • Saturday

Came to the office and did a little work. Annie went to look on so did Mellie. It was a very elaborate affair. Many characters represented kept very late at night there is considerable sickness

23 February 1879 • Sunday

We had company to dinner Belle and all her children Rob and invited Jo. Toronto but his little brother had died9 so he could not come Staid in the evening Sister [Lucetta Stratford] Penrose[,] Jessie [Lucetta Penrose] [p. 40] {p. 40} and Cormelia [Cornelia] Cook

24 February 1879 • Monday

Rec’d a letter last evening from Br. Cannon Was quite delighted, went to the President’s office three times, saw Br. Taylor at last who spoke encouragingly in regard to the Office.

25 February 1879 • Tuesday

Pursuing the regular routine of work, all work and no recreation The Ballot Box10 and Woman’s Words11 have both arrived giving their version of the Convention.

26 February 1879 • Wednesday

Went to Relief Society meeting at Sister [Bathsheba Wilson Bigler] Smiths, spoke most of the afternoon. worked very hard to prepare copy etc. Rec’d an invitation to the Convention in St. Louis.12 wish I could go– [p. 41] {p. 41}

27 February 1879 • Thursday

Went on the early train to Farmington. to the Joint Conference of Y.M.M.I. & Y.L.M.I. Ass.13 come home on the Market <Freight> Train

28 February 1879 • Friday

Went to Provo attended Relief Society Con. of Utah Co. and silk Ass. of Utah Co. staid all night at Bishop [Abraham O.] Smoots, slept with Aunt Eliza R. Snow Esquire14 Went to Ogden.


  1. [1]The Palmer House is a noted hotel built in Chicago in 1871 as a wedding present from Potter Palmer to his bride, Bertha Honore. It burned down thirteen days after opening. Palmer rebuilt the hotel, and it was reopened in 1875. (Turkel, “Nobody Asked Me.”)

  2. [2]Elbridge G. Lapham was a senator from New York state, as mentioned in an earlier EBW diary entry. (EBW, Diary, 17 Jan. 1879; see also “Lapham, Elbridge Gerry,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.) There were nine congressmen from Michigan, but none were named Lapham. (“Congress Profiles, 45th Congress.”)

  3. [3]EBW, “Visit to Washington,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1879, 7:194.

  4. [4]At a special meeting of the Relief Society of Weber County, EBW and Zina Williams recounted their trip to Washington, DC. Union Hall, located on the corner of Fifth and Young Streets in Ogden, was used by several churches for public meetings. (“Home Affairs,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1879, 7:194; Haefeli and Cannon, Directory of Ogden City, 77.)

  5. [5]Newel K. Whitney was sustained as first bishop of the church in 1844. EBW married him on 14 February 1845. (“Whitney, Newel Kimball,” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed 26 Oct. 2017,

  6. [6]The Council House was a two-story, square sandstone building located on the southwest corner of Main and South Temple Streets. It was completed in 1855 and housed church, city, county, and territorial offices. (Livingstone et al., Salt Lake City, 128; Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, 111.)

  7. [7]Lucy Woodward Hewlings.

  8. [8]The “grand Masquerade” refers to the annual dress ball held in the Salt Lake Theatre.

  9. [9]John Charles Toronto was Joseph Brigham Toronto’s half brother. John died at age five after he was kicked by a horse. (Toronto Family Organization, Joseph Toronto, 34, 38; Salt Lake City, Death Records, 1848–Sept. 1950, p. 223, no. 8912.)

  10. [10]Ballot Box was a women’s rights paper originally published in Toledo, Ohio, but by 1879 the paper had been moved to Syracuse, New York, and was called the National Citizen and Ballot Box. (“Home Affairs,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Sept. 1877, 6:60–61; “National Citizen and Ballot Box”; Stanton et al., History of Woman Suffrage, 3:116.)

  11. [11]Woman’s Words began as a monthly journal in Philadelphia on 1 April 1877, with Theresa Juan Lewis as publisher. EBW posted a notice in the Woman’s Exponent to announce its advent. (“Home Affairs,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 May 1877, 5:181.)

  12. [12]In 1879, the annual National Woman Suffrage Association meeting held to commemorate the historic 1848 Seneca Falls women’s rights convention took place in St. Louis, Missouri. It featured individual speeches on women’s suffrage issues, in contrast to the January NWSA meeting, which was intended to lobby Congress for the Sixteenth Amendment. (Stanton et al., History of Woman Suffrage, 3:142–149; see also EBW, Diary, 9–30 Jan. 1879.)

  13. [13]Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association and Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association.

  14. [14]In her diaries, EBW often refers to her husband, Daniel H. Wells, as “Esquire.”