The Church Historian's Press

May 1887

1 May 1887 • Sunday

This morning Bishop Clawson came as he is to start home this afternon. He came up stairs and administered to Louie, and spoke very comforting to her. The day is fine but we see little of it as we have to be shut in this little chamber. O for health for my own sweet darling, we do not want means for show or style but health is indeed precious. May day how much in my younger days have I thought of this day of festivities but now not a thought of anything except of our great great sorrow and trouble [p. 145] {p. 147}

2 May 1887 • Monday

Louie is growing much worse, the sickness at the stomach is very trying and she gets no rest from the pain, the Dr. has made several examinations & finds ulcers in the rectum causing the terrible pain in the spine, like a red hot knife blade, O how she suffers! and how patient she is, we let the new nurse go we paid her ten dollars for a weeks night watching it seemed to bad to give so much for so little work. And we do need the money for so many things and medicines are so expensive One Salt Lake Herald today but no letter [p. 146] {p. 148}

3 May 1887 • Tuesday

Today I have had such a sweet letter from Annie & one from Mellie very good a day or two ago. Annie tells me Uncle Angus will have Louie prayed for in the Circle1 and that he invited her to go to the Ogden to meet the Hawiian Queen.2 She declined with thanks. She is doing well with the paper I think and I hope she will be able to manage it. Her children are well she mentioned about Aunt Eliza and about being over at the house and speaking to them about June selling my place, dear old garden sweet & precious to me [p. 147] {p. 149}

4 May 1887 • Wednesday

<Sent letter to Annie today> Yesterday was the best day we have had but today is about the worst fainting after excessive pain sickness at the stomach, feeling of smothering and of bursting such distension gave her castor oil & turpentine no relief, deathly pallor and constant pain, cramping too, Dr. did not come and at evening we sent for Dr. Ridanour we were much alarmed he does not know any more than [Solomon S.] Stambaugh, they are both somewhat puzzled over the case I think I did not lie down until after three o’clock I only wish I could hold out night & day both– [p. 148] {p. 150}

5 May 1887 • Thursday

<Today 30 years since I went into the home I sent a letter to J. Q. today Belle one to Annie> Another frighful day so much pain water very high and dreadful pressure in the abdomen straining of cords and muscles and everything seems to be at the culminating point. We are alarmed, her hair has never been combed out but the once and we hate to see it cut off. She can keep nothing on her stomach and she gets no good rest at all. About 4 o’clock Dr. S. & R. both came and with grave faces to what the jolly Dr. S. generally comes in, they talked over the matter seriously and took her water and have decided on aspirating tomorrow had a letter from J. Q. yesterday [p. 149]3

6 May 1887 • Friday

Ill fated day, how many such must I encounter, I know not. The operation of aspirating and taking the water from Louie was done today. 14 quarts and immediately following came letters from home saying my home was to go. It seems as though all had conspired against me. June & Annie & Katie have written. I sent off a letter to John Q. hurriedly written and afterwards wrote to Mell & to Annie It has been a day of days. Tonight I am weary and melancholy and Louie is very feverish and disturbed in her sleep. [p. 150] {p. 151}

7 May 1887 • Saturday

This morning Louie was weak and low and yet we felt hopeful considering she had passed safely through the ordeal of having the bulk of water taken. The Dr. came early pinned her up closely & told us we must move her on her stomach to start the wind into another channel & also to try and get her into another room to change the scene and the atmosphere. We moved her carefully on the lounge and she looked out on the Park and enjoyed it as much as she ever does anything, brought her back before the sun went down, and she seemed very hysterical for 2 hours after. [p. 151] {p. 152}

8 May 1887 • Sunday

Had as good a night as usual and this morning took with a heavy chill that lasted over two hours & then set in a raging fever and terrific perspiration it is the birthday of Jethro [H.] Whitney he is 39 today. How well I remember the time and the anxiety & my own regrets and the days so occupied with thoughs of the great journey we were about to take into an unknown desert or wilderness as we always called it. Outside it has been a lovely day, but it is nothing to us who are hemmed in by sickness and trouble & can never breathe outdoor air. Poor Louie what a dreadful day we have had with her and how she has suffered. No respite at all. [p. 152] {p. 153}

9 May 1887 • Monday

A terrible night of agony and all the time Louie cries out I’m so weary, so tired, so weary, weary, weary. And calls Mother, Mother, Belle, Belle, Mercy mercy, and in such pitiful entreating tones. In the afternoon in spite of all our care and precaution, the chill came on lasting an hour and a half perhaps and then the raging burning fever & sinking feelings until one was seriously alarmed for her life. Night came on and we were all weary and tired 2 letters came today and I have written. Annie’s letter was very satisfactory if anything can be at such a time though she says Mell has been kicked with her colt and is ill [p. 153] {p. 154}

10 May 1887 • Tuesday

<A very special day to me a day of days.> Another wearisome day dragging along with pain & chills and fever and sweats such a tedious day for our poor invalid. Louie O how my heart aches for her. She is so brave too, but as time passes I see she grows disheartened and looks so entreatingly to us for aid & help. The Dr. gives us every hope that she will recover and our own faith is somewhat strong yet, no one knows nor yet what is best and we must accept the inevitable whatever that may be. Our love for her is so strong and our desire for her to be restored that we could almost rend the heavens with our entreaties, but we know not what more to do. [p. 154] {p. 155}

11 May 1887 • Wednesday

The Dr. tells us this is his birthday 59 years old. He came and operated on Louie early. She went into hysterics and it was very pitiful to see, he took away a part of the rectum intestine for I saw it & myself took care of it. He dressed the ulcers with a preparation of his own for healing and left her more dead than alive. We gave her the suppository and she got a little rest during the afternoon. The night was a bad one however though not so bad as we have had sometimes. The nurse did a great deal of rubbing and eased her considerably no letters today, and we are very anxious to hear from home. [p. 155] {p. 156}

12 May 1887 • Thursday

The most dreadful day of all the days we have had. Louie never looked so pale and deathly and she is in a fever temperature 103. and head all in a whirl, feels as if she was going mad, talks incessantly when not just sinking away. O it is terrible to see one’s own child one’s darling suffering so and not be able to even lift them off their pillow or in any way alleviate their pain. Louie & I had a letter from John Q. and also from Annie. She could not read them she could not comprehend what she did read, only she was pleased. She had a slight chill, the Dr. came towards evening & he was much alarmed. [p. 156] {p. 157}

13 May 1887 • Friday

This morning I felt better about my darling because she slept more quietly & everything seemed to indicate a change for the better, the Dr. came and he too was encouraged. the pain seemed gone and she slept occasionally taking nourishment in a spoon. the day wore on. Belle & I both had a letter from Mell, with pretty good news, as regarded her money, but somehow after all Louie became very nervous and excited and towards evening the pain in her limbs became very great & we could scarcely pacify her. After bed time she grew much worse. The fever ran very high and she was really in delirium O, it was something fearful [p. 157] {p. 158}

14 May 1887 • Saturday

<Letter from May today> Sat up all night with Louie nurse too though she dozed on the lounge a little. Can never forget that fearful night never, never. Alone with my darling in a far off city away from my home, Belle worn out with watching so many weary weeks, nurse very kind but no one to speak to as I would if I were home The look on Louie’s face was the look of death, & the pain was unbearable Never did I pass such a night, no fear, but sorrow for my darling. All day she has been suffering and the Dr. gives us little hope, yet I am more hopeful tonight than I was this morning. She is taking opiates Dr. says she must [p. 158] {p. 159}

15 May 1887 • Sunday

<Set a Sent a telegram to John Q.> Slept all night after 12 o’clock nurse & Belle were both up late then Belle went to bed and [s]lept nurse up until morning. I felt terribly annoyed at sleeping so long. Dr. came & told us we must give her the opiates, he had done all in his power now. Nature was making the fight and a desperate one it is, yet to me there seems a hope I sat by her all day and she talked some to me when we were alone, so she did yesterday. I know now that she wants John Q. to come although Belle wanted me to believe she would not care to have him Dr. comes twice every day now. More opiates given tonight [p. 159] {p. 160}

16 May 1887 • Monday

This morning Louie could not waken scarcely Belle nor Mr. Sears could not sleep I <sat> all night watching her on the lounge occasionally wetting her mouth & once we gave her some cough medicine the Dr. had prepared. She slept more heavy than the night before and yet she had pain in her limbs and had to be rubbed. In the early morning we gave her tea then coffee a few tea spoonful’s and later we tried again to rouse her bathed her temples face & hands rubbed her but she only opened those beautiful eyes upon us, as though she saw some one but not us and passed peacefully to rest. at 10. A.M. [p. 160] {p. 161}

17 May 1887 • Tuesday

<Belle was hours combing Louie’s hair nearly all came out> Last night Mr. Sears sat up all night and I lay on the lounge and tried to sleep. Today I have been walking up and down trying to calm myself watching for news and none came except a telegram to Mr. Sears saying John Q. had started on the afternoon train on Monday. Dot & I went to Laurel Hill Cemetery and I saw again the beautiful Pacific Ocean lying in the distance & looking so grand & awakening so many thoughts. After coming back Mr. Sears wanted me to go and see a lot he thought of purchasing. Mrs. Hoesch was here helping Belle make Louie’s clothing Mrs. Hoesch sat up all night with me. [p. 161] {p. 162}

18 May 1887 • Wednesday

This morning rose early and was all anxiety not knowing how the day would be, as we expected John Q. to arrive, the clothing was just about all ready and it seemed somehow <I was> very much more nervous than before. He came and as at all other times tender & kind, much affected and sorrowful, thought of going home immediately but concluded to stay until tomorrow, and be for one night alone with Louie though she were dead. This will be my last night in San Francisco and I am very nervous and do not think I can sleep at all. Sad, sad, sorrowful. [p. 162] {p. 163}

19 May 1887 • Thursday

Slept with Dot in Sep’s room a very uncomfortable night, arose early and made preparations to leave San Francisco, about ten or half-past we began to remove the ice and so on, the undertaker came to assist and John Q. Belle & myself were all there. Ige Hoesch helped us to robe and prepare her and the coffin was taken up stairs and all was done and we took the last look at the sweet patient one who had borne so much and whose sufferings were now over. O my sad heart what shall I do & where can I go for comfort. Mr. Belle Dot Lucile Em & Eugene [Sears] went to Oakland [p. 163] {p. 164} with us. Sep came to the Ferry. There at 16th St. we parted, Belle very pale and tearful.

20 May 1887 • Friday

Today we have had a sultry disagreeable time great confusion in the car so full of passengers. John Q. has been on the platform most of the way. We dined at [blank] the name of our car is [blank] It is a fine car and the people in it are all going to stop off at Salt Lake. John Q. has had two telegrams from Abram and has answered them both. I have had some conversation with some of the ladies on the train about Mormonism. How sad it is to travel with the dead body of one who is dearer than life [p. 164] {p. 165}

21 May 1887 • Saturday

This morning very cloudy & dismal when we reached Odgen the rain was pouring down in torrents and it seemed more dreary than ever. Jane S. [Snyder] Richards & Frank [Franklin J.] Cannon were at the depot. When the S.L.4 Train arrived Abram and June both came up June had a telegram from his father in Denver. full of sympathy and requesting Louie to be buried beside of Emma. We came to the depot and met the boys five or six of them also other dear friends. The meeting with Annie was most affecting. May & Kate & others were on hand. funeral at 4. p.m. and all was over the same day [p. 165] {p. 166} loads of flowers in every form. Singing by members of the Tabernacle Choir, Jos. [Joseph J.] Daynes at the organ, Prayer H. [Hiram] B. Clawson, first hymn Unveil thy bosom faithful tomb second Rest on the hillside Rest Remarks by Bishop O. F. Whitney & A. M. Cannon 37 carriages to the cemetery singing there Rest etc. Dedicatory prayer by Elder Abram H. Cannon Junius F. Wells benediction at the House. Returned home sad & lonely. Called at Mell’s found her seriously ill. from the injury. Such a desolate evening

22 May 1887 • Sunday

this morning Clint Talulah & Johnnie [John Daniel Spencer] came & soon after Annie [Gibson] Sharp Jane Fergusen [Jane Robinson Ferguson] Nett [Jeannette Sharp Ferguson] & Ferg [Fergus Ferguson] and drove [p. 166] {p. 167} to the graveyard afterwards Annie & I. called at the house <& at Mell’s> at home

23 May 1887 • Monday

<Letter from my husband this morning–> This morning went up late called at Mell’s found her better, dined at June’s. Saw a few people who called and some of our own folks. The day was a terrible one for me, such an ordeal as I have seldom had, but Oh when will the pain cease!

Aunt Zina Susie Jacobs and baby5 came down. In the evening Annie came up for me and we had some conversation on Louie’s illness and so on. O the anguish of soul we are suffering, what can ever change the situation– [p. 167] {p. 168}

24 May 1887 • Tuesday

<Received letter from Belle> This is the birthday of Queen Victoria and it is also the birthday of our Bishop Millen Atwood. Somehow it seems to me that there is soon to be a great change in the genral affairs of the Church. Things cannot go on long as they are now. There will be no progress, spiritually we are standing still. I feel indisposed for work of any sort yet am making a very great exertion to do a little, ride up with Annie & home again lonely, so very desolate unpacked most of Louie’s things today John Q. came up for me, and we talked a little about our darling Louie [p. 168] {p. 169}

25 May 1887 • Wednesday

Today have written to Belle and so has Annie we are trying so hard to keep up and it seems almost impossible. I feel like an [am] in a horrible nightmare from which would I could waken to peace and consolation. have been home during the day and looked over and put away some of Louie’s things, O, the dreadful heartaches I have had over the clothing and personal effects of my two beautiful daughters. Sometimes I think there never were two such gifted and influential girls and how short their lives were here on the earth. [p. 169] {p. 170}

26 May 1887 • Thursday

<Last evening went to see Jos. E. [Taylor] by his request–> This morning John Q. went up to Mountain Dell with Mayor Armstrong and Judge Smith we were in hopes it would do him good and be a sort of relief to his mind, as he never places any confidence in any one to open his heart to them, and broods over his condition which seems deplorable certainly. Annie and I went to the graveyard and then to Mells and I had a fall when crossing the ditch with Louise in my arms and hurt us both particularly on the head. All day had very sinegular feelings. Went to the Lion House to see [p. 170] {p. 171} Sister Eliza R. Snow who made quite a sensation over my visit, wanted a royal kiss we saluted each other formally on the forehead.

27 May 1887 • Friday

Yesterday news came that Jerry [Jeremiah H.] Kimball son of Heber C. & Amanda [Gheen] Kimball had fallen from a train and was dead. today the news has been confirmed and the widow6 is plunged in grief & the mother is far away at Rexburg in Idaho The body will not be in for some days and meantime the girls who set my type will be absent as they are sisters to the widow left so desolate. A very tedious day and no cheer at all John Q. came home. [p. 171] {p. 172}

28 May 1887 • Saturday

Letter from Dot yesterday with a little poem & one from Belle today neither one of them very cheering, low spirited & melancholy. A cloud is over us, shall we ever pass from under it? I know not! What is our future to be it is impossible to tell? All day long I have been in a state of excitement having heard from a private source that Pres. Taylor was dying. No one appears to have had any message and when I mentioned it to John Q. he spurned the idea as being unreasonable & so we drove home without further particulars. Fence put up today dividing my lot made me still more sad. [p. 172] {p. 173}

29 May 1887 • Sunday

I was in a sort of nervous excitement last night tho’ said very little to Annie. Slept some but woke and felt much oppressed with sorrow. It seemed to me that Louie in her robes as we laid her down in the elegant casket in San Francisco was around the room and that something was the matter. 7|Early this morning the news came of John [H.] Burton’s having been shot & killed. a warm sultry day, Annie cooked a delicious dinner, John Q. told us his father did not come home as has been his usual habit of late but sent for a change of linen. Did some writing helped to take care of the children [p. 173] {p. 174}

30 May 1887 • Monday

This is Decoration day Annie and I intended to go early to the graveyard but were late in starting after all. Louise went with us. We called at Fenton’s for flowers, almost all white ones snowballs & syringa’s, rose buds & so on. We laid a few on our own dear one’s graves and on Dessie’s then some on Belle’s little Herberts [W. Sears] & Sydney [Sidney W. Sears]’s then on to Winnie [Winnifred I. Woods]’s and Leslie’s and Mrs. [Elizabeth Hoagland] Cannon’s and Mother [Elizabeth Ann Smith] Whitneys on each we put a few we called at Mellie’s on our way home and then came down and spent the remainder of the day in solitude just ourselves. [p. 174] {p. 175}

31 May 1887 • Tuesday

This is the last day of this beautiful month. the one that has taken one of my fairest flowers away from me. I came up and found a letter from Belle and others was busy all day in the Office had no opportunity of even going down to the house, went home at evening and at night there was a very high wind enough to frighten any one. O, how lonely are the days and nights, nothing seems the same, all has changed for me and my heart is almost frozen in my body. I have had many callers today and some particular friends who seem to think me too sorrowful [p. 175] {p. 176}

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May 1887, The Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells, accessed July 24, 2024