The Church Historian's Press

January 1887


12 January

The Edmunds-Tucker Bill, which authorized federal confiscation of church properties worth over $50,000 and removed the voting rights of all women in Utah Territory, passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

16 May

EBW’s daughter Louie Wells Cannon died in San Francisco.

11 June

EBW served on the People’s Party Territorial Central Committee to plan a constitutional convention to move toward Utah Statehood.

25 July

Church president John Taylor died while in hiding.

31 July

For the first time in nearly three years, EBW spent time with her husband, Daniel H. Wells, who was home from his mission to Europe. “He seemed quite as much excited as I was myself,” she noted.

20 October

Grandson Percival Woods died of diphtheria.

29 November

EBW joined her daughter Annie in doing ordinance work at the Logan temple, the first time EBW performed proxy temple work for the dead.

5 December

Eliza R. Snow, second Relief Society general president, died at age eighty-three.

1 January 1887 • Saturday

This is a sad beginning for the New Year. Louie [Louisa Wells Cannon] gone and I so desolate.1 House and home2 left as it were forsaken. As soon as breakfast was over almost I went up town with John Q. [Cannon] leaving Annie [Elizabeth Ann Wells Cannon] & the children3 alone. A telegram had been received at 8 o’clock at the Office saying Louie arrived all right on Friday morning and that Belle [Isabel Whitney Sears] met her at Oakland [California] and also little Sep [Septimus Whitney Sears] came and she was well. We only staid up town an hour or so and then drove back, dined early, turkey and plum-pudding with all the other luxuries of the season. In the evening had a game of authors [p. 25] {p. 27}

2 January 1887 • Sunday

Very lonely day the first Sunday without Louie drove up home after breakfast and tried to sort out a few things. Went to the Post for mail and received two letters from San Francisco both <written> before Louie arrived. One was for Annie the other for me. Had a very sad but satisfactory time in looking up and thinking over my experiences with the peculiar circumstances of my life. I went to meeting in the afternoon at the Tabernacle John W. Taylor preached a real Gospel sermon. Sat with Vic [Victor P. Wells] & Louis [R. Wells]. Went straight down home & drove to the Farm. Dinner was over but we had a rather pleasant evening– [p. 26] {p. 28}

3 January 1887 • Monday

Monday morning tried to be early but as usual was delayed. Went down home at noon found letters and cards from the girls. Louie wrote more particulars of her journey and though I wept I was not so sorrowful as before I heard of her safe arrival. She will at least have free air to breathe without intrusion or any disagreeable gossip reaching her ears. For her sake it is better but for me how utterly forlorn. She has been my one companion for so long a time. She is so thoughtful of every one and so sweet mannered and tender towards me. I must pray for grace a way to be opened for her to be happy [p. 27] {p. 29}

4 January 1887 • Tuesday

George Q [Cannon]’s4 birthday, he is having a party thirteen little boys have been invited, every preparation has been carefully made. His papa bought him a foot ball and singing top, and there are tarts and cakes candies nuts & raisins oranges etc. The day is fine and they can play out of doors, a swing has been fixed in the shed or carriage house. Annie drove up town with me & brought Louise [B. Cannon]. Several sisters have been in during the morning hours. I am busy reading proofs and preparing for the press. There was a fire last night A brewery burned in the 15th Ward one not in use. Stayed late to finish mailing5 {p. 30}

5 January 1887 • Wednesday

John Q. took me up this morning, on the way saw the ruins of the Baptist school house burned down last night. Abram [H. Cannon] leaves for Arizona today. Received a letter from Dot [S. Isabel Sears]. Went home and had lunch in the old house alone. I enjoy the solitude although fraught with sadness. Got the revised proofs read today and tried to get some work ahead. Disagreeable day, gloomy and dismal snowing part of the time. My heart is lonely always thinking of my darling ones who are absent. Saw Will [William W. Woods] for the first time since his return. Lydia Ann [Alley Wells] came over to talk of Ort [Orson F. Whitney] and May [Mary M. Wells].6 Came home early. John Q. has been ploughing. {p. 31}

6 January 1887 • Thursday

A snowy morning, I drove up alone, John Q. went to ploughing yesterday & is doing some more today. I bought a new silk umbrella, rain & hail at intervals, went home in time for Cal [California] Mail, mailed my first letter to my little Louie A card for Lou & Belle– The house was more than usually gloomy and lonesome but it seemed nice to be there and think of my loved ones in the places where we had been so much together. Drove down alone frightened all the way but safe at last. Annie has been helping me this evening with mailing preparations. We sat up very late. No news from San Francisco [p. 28] {p. 32}

7 January 1887 • Friday

All day busy and trying to get some mailing done. called on Aunt Eliza [R. Snow] and had a long chat about current matters, and then staid to a meeting of the Territorial Central Committee in the evening at the City Hall. Ort has been in to see me and I gave him a good talking to about his own affairs and his neglect etc. It was a lovely moonlight night, and I went home and cooked my own dinner, then to the meeting after meeting had a long conversation with Angus [M. Cannon] and Sister [Mary Isabella Hales] Horne. It was nearly 12 o’clock when we got home, driving by moonlight over rough roads [p. 29] {p. 33}

8 January 1887 • Saturday

Another day of hurry & work and little accomplished because of so many visitors on business and from the country. Letters none that were of any consequence, Angus M. came in a short time. Went home alone rather late feeling very low-spirited and weary and so much on my mind that I could scarcely keep my senses. I had to give up on arriving my tired feelings and depression overcame me, and I went to bed, not much sleep however but, after some time a feeling of restfulness. The day was a particularly weary one and no satisfaction in accomplishing my work. [p. 32] {p. 34}

9 January 1887 • Sunday

<Br. Nesbitt [Henry W. Naisbitt] preached in the Tabernacle today.> Rose very late, a lovely day, though the wind blew very cold and strong. Wilhelm went up for my mail and brought the sunday paper and two letters from Louie and one from Dot. Tolerably good news though Louie is very homesick. O how sad for us to be separated at a time when she so much needs her mother and those who love her devotedly to comfort her and be around her. Belle is very companionable but her family cares are very heavy. We had a lovely fire in the parlor and a very pleasant evening. John Q. went to ward meeting and when he came back we had lunch [p. 33] {p. 35}

10 January 1887 • Monday

This morning when we rose found a deep snow had fallen during the night and the wind was blowing it hither and thither. Rode up with John Q. and he drove Grey Prince, found some extra mail registered etc. Mell [Melvina Whitney Woods] came & Daisie [Dunford Woods], Daisie goes to Logan tomorrow to teach. A letter from Louie made me very sad indeed. Drove down to the [Deseret] Hospital7 and John Q. waited for me to attend to some business. I decided to remain at home tonight and see how it would do. It is such a difficult thing to get up town in any kind of season. sent off Louie’s cards to Sister [Sarah Griffith] Richards & aunt Delia [Cordelia Woodward Holden]. Wrote Louie– [p. 34] {p. 36}

11 January 1887 • Tuesday

Such a night as never was for me, no sleep scarcely all alone, and every minute almost cries of sorrow and mourning. The house was like a tomb. I could not bear any one to come to witness my agony and so I stayed alone. This morning felt ill, and was very late in going to the Office. Worked at the mailing it is Br. Geo. Q. Cannon’s birthday and he came home and had his family together. Carlie [Caroline Young Cannon] and baby8 even were there. John Q. but not the rest. No message came to them either. Very strange indeed it was too I think. Went down with John Q. after the City Council.9 [p. 35] {p. 37}

12 January 1887 • Wednesday

<Received a letter from Louie today> In the Congress of the United States the new Edmunds Tucker Bill was considered and passed the House in a perfect furore, under pressure from [John R.] Tucker [Ezra B.] Taylor of Ohio and others. It is a most cruel & infamous measure and contrary to all sense of justice and right. Annie came up town with me and called on Talulah [Charlotte Talulah Young Wood]. I have not been very well today and have done very little. Went up to see Aunt Eliza and over to the House.10 Went home late, and we had a visit from the Teachers.11 Went to bed about one o’clock felt very much depressed [p. 36] {p. 38}

13 January 1887 • Thursday

This morning John Q. drove me up, found the statement about the Edmunds Tucker Bill passing to be true. No excitement prevails, though many feel indignant probably all in fact, women as well as men. There seems little doubt of its passing the Senate and being signed by the President. In this time of trial to all individual affairs may possibly be let alone. Gossips may have something to occupy their time and thoughts I am going to attend the prayer meeting at the big house this evening and expect to sleep with Lydia Ann all night. Had a letter from Louie today [p. 37] {p. 39}

14 January 1887 • Friday

This morning came over in good time and went to my regular work. The meeting last evening was not very well attended but passed off tolerably well. We had a fine visit afterwards talking over old times and the many changes as well as the current topics of the day. Today has been bright and sunshiny, Annie came up for me and did some shopping, called on Talulah and gave her a bronzed horse-shoe that she had fixed for Geo. Q. to give him. In the evening we were alone until J. Q. came from the City Council. Annie has written a letter to Louie, mailed yesterday, I wrote yesterday but it did not [p. 38] {p. 40} get mailed, mailed my letter today.

15 January 1887 • Saturday

It is a warm day and so awfully muddy one can scarce get along at all, have been exceedingly busy, preparing copy and answering letters, Went down in good time but was too tired to enjoy myself at all. Children well and Annie too everything same as usual but I feel so weary & depressed. Life is so changed to me without Louie and my own home I am not like myself I long to write some thing more creditable than any work I have ever done, but no opportune time seems to come for the work. Other women with less ability have accomplished [p. 39] {p. 41} more.

16 January 1887 • Sunday

This morning is bright. Geo. Q. went off to Sunday School early and we had a late breakfast, for Annie & I were both weary and needed rest. I stayed all day with Annie & the children instead of going to meeting or even coming up home. We read a little Annie cooked the dinner. In the evening John Q. went as usual to the Ward meeting and we stayed at home, Annie attending to the children & reading at intervals and I wrote a part of my editorial. sat up late came on very cold indeed. No news from the Bill at Washington. [p. 40] {p. 42}

17 January 1887 • Monday

Came up rather late came down home found a letter from Louie, and Sundays paper. Received a letter from Louie today in which she mentions the earthquake and a terrible fire near them. The day was very short Annie came up early. Louise with her and we had some errands to do which made us late. John Q. went away early & we had the evening to ourselves I was reading proof and Annie the newspapers. No particular news except the dreadful explosion and wreck of a vessel just out of San Francisco. Three accidents near my girls in so short a time. [p. 41] {p. 43}

18 January 1887 • Tuesday

Came up late and went into the Office, found letters waiting and lots of work to do. Rather a fine day cold however, have had lost [lots] of callers. John Horne is dead, died in Bannock leaves a wife and three children. A fine young man so very sad to be cut off in the midst of happiness and popularity. Sisters Minerva [White] Snow, E H [Elizabeth Harrison] Goddard, E S [Elmina Shepard] Taylor, M. [Margaret Farquhar] Steele have all made calls upon me today. Went up to see Aunt Eliza a few minutes this evening staid at home alone until J. Q. came from the City Council. Tried to write a letter to my husband but did not succeed in doing so. [p. 42] {p. 44}

19 January 1887 • Wednesday

Today was set apart at Washington for the Conferee’s on the AntiMormon Bill.12 The wind shrieked and howled all night. This morning still furious drove Halo13 up alone. A. very busy day and lots of hindrances. At evening the rain set in and I had to drive home in the most driving storm of sleet and rain over such horrible roads that it seemed almost perilous. I was alone too and wet and cold. There is very little news in town and no account from the Conference Committee No news from San Francisco much to my discomfort. Too weary to attend to my writing almost [p. 43] {p. 45}

20 January 1887 • Thursday

Came up late and read my revise, John Q. came up with me. Letters from San Francisco with good news Nabbie & husband and baby are gone to New York14 also Fannie [Fanny Young] Thatcher. What a crowd of Mormons there are in New York now. They must have quite a nice time of it I think. So many of the Young family. Mrs. Webster a lady of refinement & culture called and spent some time an hour or more in conversation with me. Her son is one of the Grismer Davies Company at the Theatre. Went down home early. The sunset was lovely, and I enjoyed it very much but thought of Louie and how we had driven [p. 44] {p. 46} down at sunset so many times admiring the tints and realiance [radiance] though our hearts were full of pain. X X X X15

21 January 1887 • Friday

This morning there was a fearful storm. Came up late, have been mailing Aunt Eliza’s birthday I gave her a present of a Scrap book all ready to paste in. She is 83 today, hale and hearty, Lydia Ann has been over to talk with me about the Esquire16 and other matters One letter from Louie today though a very short one, yet more cheerful and satisfactory. Had dinner at home alone spent the evening waiting for John Q. to come from the Council [p. 45] {p. 47}

22 January 1887 • Saturday

Drove Halo up home, and soon after arriving had some strangers calling upon me. Tried hard to get some mailing done & purchases made for Annie No letter from Louie but wrote one and sent away. Went up to see Aunt Eliza and took some strangers Went home to lunch and felt very disappointed & low-spirited as there was no word from my dear ones. 14th Ward meeting in the afternoon and several ladies called in, and many came for their papers. Drove down late over the most dreadful roads, and nearly frightened out of my wits. John Q. had been out hunting and was very weary, Went to bed early. [p. 46] {p. 48}

23 January 1887 • Sunday

<A raw wind whistling and driving but no snow or rain> A very cold miserable day, stayed at home and fixed up Hospital Receipts and Reports. Read some and helped a little with the children Q. went to Sunday School We had a nice dinner at 4. fire in the parlor and sat talking and enjoying it very much indeed. In the evening John Q. went to meeting and we did some writing Annie sang for the children and they were so sweet, and sang too both in German & in English. Annie dressed herself very neatly and looked so handsome, and the day though disagreeable outside was pleasant within but no visitors only our own selves, and family conversations [p. 47] {p. 49}

24 January 1887 • Monday

Went up with John Q. this morning, drove to the house and found letters, and on arriving at the Office quite a heavy mail and one foreign letter from my husband. As I had only received one before since our dreadful trouble and that one had given me much unnecessary pain while I had already almost more than I could bear I hesitated about reading it, but finally collected my courage which I begin to think is very great since I have gone through so much and as I read on I found he had modified very much indeed. Altogether I felt comforted. Hospital meeting today A M Cannon present. snowing tonight [p. 48] {p. 50}

25 January 1887 • Tuesday

This morning came up in good time not much mail worked as hard as I could & made haste to have time to dress and go to the 14th Ward entertainment, went home to dress and found a letter from Mrs. Mylen in Australia, very nice and sensible. The day passed swiftly and not very much accomplished Wore my black silk velvet and real lace and found on arriving that we all had to take off our things, the hall splendidly decorated and Pres. Cannon Bishop Geo. H. Taylor and many visitors present, being invited to speak I occupied a few minutes though I would much rather not have spoken Refreshments were served and a social interview after meeting [p. 49] {p. 51}

26 January 1887 • Wednesday

This morning John Q. started up to Mountain Dell with Mayor [Francis] Armstrong will be gone three or four days, I went up town alone driving Daisie felt very nervous was scarcely able to get any work done until it was time to go to the Relief Society meeting the Bishop and one of his Counselors, the meeting was an interesting one and I felt much blessed and comforted. Went down late quite nervous and we had a pleasant evening, sherry wine and bread and cheese and sat up late, had a very poor night and dreadful dreams the wind is blowing and the night is lonely and weird [p. 50] {p. 52}

27 January 1887 • Thursday

<had a letter from Lucy [Woodward Hewlings] & 2 from Louie for Annie> Waited to finish the article on Margaret Fuller, it was half past eleven when I left the Farm, and there was a high wind and snow from the North. Arriving at the corner of the D. & R. G.17 near the shrubbery and poplars and the water which was swift, and dark, and turbulent withal, the sounds and sobs and wild noises were most welcome, and I soliloquized– how beautiful! how congenial; and musical; were these voices in the wind. A weary day lunched at Mellie’s snow and blow and intensely cold dressed nicely and went to a meeting at E R [Ellis Reynolds] Shipps Aunt Eliza was there. came home late & alone [p. 51] {p. 53}

28 January 1887 • Friday

This morning drove up alone and as usual in no mood for gaiety. The wind was whistling and shrieking first loud and piercing then low and mournful and I lingered over the dreadful roads lonely as it was to enjoy this melody so suited to my depressed spirits. Took up some things to Susan [Alley Wells] for the boys. Have <not> had many visitors today, Sister [Julia Jinks] Druce spent an hour or more, we had quite a good time, no letters except Louie’s that were interesting. Dined at the Big house on the corner, John Q. came home this afternoon and has gone down to Annie’s, came home made a fire had a cup of tea all alone O so sad yet inevitable [p. 52] {p. 54}

29 January 1887 • Saturday

<Pictures received of Mother [Lucy Mack] Smith very unsatisfactory.> Came up with John Q. and read the dispatch in the morning paper stating that the suffrage women had presented a memorial to the President asking him to veto the Edmunds Tucker bill and protesting against the disfranchisement of the legal women voters of Utah went direct to Angus M. Cannon and obtained his approval of sending a telegram to the ladies of the Convention, also to Franklin D. Richards and prepared it and it was signed by eleven of us and immediately forwarded to Miss Susan B. Anthony at the Riggs House. Came down home in a severe storm of sleet & rain. Had a letter from Susie Y [Susa Young] Gates today [p. 53] {p. 55}

30 January 1887 • Sunday

Was very late in rising this morning and set off soon after to go up town alone, went home and wrote awhile then went to meeting, there was congregational singing and John Nicholson preached, went home & wrote a little more looking over some books and other things and made a fire in the parlor this morning, so I could see how it looked once more. Went down to Annie’s all alone never met a single soul. It was very late for dinner John Q. was already gone to meeting. We had a pleasant time and I sat up late writing my editorial. Had a letter from Louie today [p. 54] {p. 56} and one from Lucile [Sears] to Kate [Catherine Wells].

31 January 1887 • Monday

Last night I had a nervous chill and had to call Annie up in the night, it seemed as if I was going to die and I felt that I would like to have Louie at home. She would break her heart if I should die in her absence. Went up town late and Annie drove and took baby. I prepared copy. News came of the accident to Sidney Clawson little boy.18 2 years old, shot dead, or died in seven hours. Went to Aunt Zina [Diantha Huntington Young]’s birthday party at Ri Dougalls [Clarissa Maria Young Dougall] many ladies there and nice entertainment. Sister Horne came to see me. Meeting at Annie’s this evening, very good time full meeting [p. 55] {p. 57}

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January 1887, The Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells, accessed July 22, 2024