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January 1888


EVENTS IN EMMELINE B. WELLS’S DIARY FOR 1888

29 February

Although she left her longtime home on State Street with many regrets, EBW celebrated her sixtieth birthday with a party for family and friends on the day she moved back into the old adobe house on South Temple Street, where she had lived after marrying Daniel H. Wells in 1852.

13 May

Daniel H. Wells resealed their daughter Annie Wells to John Q. Cannon in the Endowment House, and Judge Elias A. Smith Jr. performed a civil marriage for the two in EBW’s parlor.

21 May

EBW attended the public dedication of the Manti temple, where on 17 May Daniel H. Wells had been set apart as president.

28 June

Annie Wells Cannon and her three children moved to Ogden with John Q. Cannon, who was now editor of the Ogden Standard newspaper.

31 August

Mell Whitney Woods moved with her two daughters to Murray, Idaho, to join her attorney husband, William W. Woods, who had been working there for some months.

11 October

EBW was set apart as corresponding secretary to general Relief Society president Zina D. H. Young.

30 October

EBW departed by train to visit Belle Whitney Sears and her family in San Francisco.

1 January 1888 • Sunday

The morning was cold and raw snow deep enough for sleighing and the bells are ringing. I intended going to meeting today but Louise [B. Cannon] is sick and I must go down and see my darling Annie [Elizabeth Ann Wells Cannon] & it is Lydia Ann [Alley] Wells birthday she is 60 years old, and I am invited there to dinner this afternoon. John Q. [Cannon] came up for me and brought little Margaret [Cannon] in the sleigh. We drove down about 12 m. and had lunch Sister [Myra Clayton] Winters was there, and after having stayed a few hours, we started back & near the D. & R. G.1 the sleigh tipped over and we were thrown out but not hurt. I went to the big house2 as I expected to and spent a pleasant evening. The Esquire3 was there and seemed to enjoy himself very much indeed. Went to Mell [Melvina Whitney Woods]’s & slept. [p. 25] {p. 28}

2 January 1888 • Monday

This morning rose quite late it is the regular holiday. After breakfast called on Nett [Susan Annette Wells Culmer] & Harry [Henry A. L. Culmer], then lunched with Mell and came down home, made fires, looked up dates, and read over my old diaries of 1872 & 3,4 & 4 & 5, 6 & 7. It was most interesting and I fully enjoyed the few hours. The fire burned brightly and the room seemed beautiful as in former days, only my loved ones who used to make rich music in the old home are here no more, voices are hushed, and silence reigns, except as I move about or talk to myself or think aloud; the wind sweeps past the doors and moans & cries and the snow birds chirp in the evergreens & syringa, all so desolate without. Dined at Annie’s, Louise is much improved, sat up late. Wind raging & howling wildly [p. 26] {p. 29}

3 January 1888 • Tuesday

Came up this morning with Br. [Henry M.] Wilbraham driving. Mamie [Mary Alice Hoagland Cannon] went home with him. I went over to dinner and had rather an unpleasant time talking over serious matters. Circumstances are not advantageous at present in our domestic affairs. The Esquire is down from Logan and cannot stay with his own wives,5 but must be with sons or elsewhere and it is very disagreeable to parties interested in his welfare & comfort. I spent the evening at home and went up to Mell’s with John Q. we had dinner here in our own old parlor by the glowing coal-fire, and we did enjoy it very much at least I did and my heart grew warmer than for many a day, but I can never be the same again as of old O, no, never, it is past beyond recall. [p. 27] {p. 30}

4 January 1888 • Wednesday

This morning went late to the office6 and after hurrying over some matters of business went down home and had a bite to eat left from the evening before, and made a fire in the parlor hunted over some papers, read in my journals and so on waited until it grew late, then laid down and fell asleep on the lounge, and awoke feeling very disagreeable and nervous it was late there was no one coming for me I knew it was the birthday of my grandson Geo. Q. [Cannon] and felt alarmed at the delay. I put on my wraps and started out alone, finding no one I could ask to take me I walked all the way to the Farm,7 many times on the latter part, of the way I felt my knees falter and yet I traveled on almost heedless of storm or wind, the driving sleet and moaning wild night wind [p. 28] {p. 31} finding sympathy in my soul. O how many such terrible struggles with my heart aches and these tempestuous moods must I have, ere any consolation comes to me that will lift me or even lighten the load I am carrying.

5 January 1888 • Thursday

Last night exhausted and worn with fatigue of body and melancholy I reached the farm ready to drop, where I lay upon the lounge until midnight, more weary than I could have thought, I should be. Slept with Annie but not soundly, and did not rise until quite late– then came up in town with John Q. Did not accomplish much, and went to Mell’s to dine. Letter from Belle [Isabel Whitney Sears] and very pretty cards from Dot [S. Isabel Sears] for me and her Grandpa Wells. Verona [May Dunford] & I went down to the house in the evening quite pleasant [p. 29] {p. 32}

6 January 1888 • Friday

<Letter from Belle today–> Yesterday sent off some little gift books to friends as reminders of the New Year & could not do half I wished. Spent a miserable night very little sleep and horrible dreams, for which I could not account. Sister Staines8 came in and spent two or three hours. Sisters E. S. [Elmina Shepard] Taylor, Zina D. H. [Huntington] Young, Rachel R. [Ivins] Grant and other ladies came to see me, and we had a very interesting time. It was Rubie [Ruby Naylor]’s birthday, and Geo. Q. came up to her party 12 years old she is today. I rode down to the Farm this evening and was chilled through, spent the evening in the parlor at Annie’s. Louise is better but Margaret is sick. Mamie is here working a pattern for a foot-rest for her father. Annie is giving her instruction. O, how every thing that has transpired in this room comes back to me tonight and such visions as appal me. [p. 30] {p. 33}

7 January 1888 • Saturday

Slept with Annie and Margaret in her beautiful bedroom, it is a luxurious bed and the surroundings are all in keeping. A glowing coal fire brings many recollections and is pleasant to gaze into, and conjure up images to create poetic thought.

I came up late, called at the dear old home and looked up one or two things for Annie. How gratifying to me to go into the house occasionally and brood over the past, Even though many scenes have been sorrowful. Had a letter from Daisie [Dunford] today9 and wrote to Will A. Woodward. Rudgar [Rudger] Clawson came in to see me today. I have accomplished very little, came up to Mell’s this evening, and have been very quiet. I am in a hustle with work weather severely cold, snow deep– good sleighing [p. 31] {p. 34}

8 January 1888 • Sunday

Sat and wrote on a letter to Belle and notes etc. until I felt impelled to go to the house and wait for the sleigh to come and take me down to Annie’s. Went home made a fire and John Q. came I had to go to the office and get some [Deseret] Hospital Work as the next day was the meeting of Directors. Went down to Annie’s and stayed all night. Very cold indeed. J. [Joseph] M. Tanner who has just returned from Constantinople preached in the Tabernacle. We have never had such freezing weather as this in Utah before. Annie’s children are not well either Louise or Margaret. She has no help, poor girl and I am too weak to do much for her or the little ones. There is no Northern mail on account of the blockade and Mell is very much upset on account of it. [p. 32] {p. 35}

9 January 1888 • Monday

Came up late and went direct to the Office found Ellen [Hitchings] there as usual. Girls away behind with their work10 and lots to do before going to the Hospital meeting. Bishop [Hiram B.] Clawson came and asked me to ride down with him, but I went to pay bills and missed the chance. Rode home with him however and afterwards attended to office business and went to Mells to dinner and Verona and I came down to the Home and waited until John Q. came from the Council and then went to Annie’s in the sleigh. We had a pleasant time. Mamie had been there several days making a foot-rest for her father’s birthday the eleventh, and Annie was just putting the finishing touches. It was a desperately cold night. Margaret quite sick. [p. 33] {p. 36}

10 January 1888 • Tuesday

Ashbell Pomeroy 39. today came up late Verona John Q. and myself. Found all right and went to work energetically. In the afternoon had lots of visitors and my husband came to make an appointment with me for the evening. Junius [F. Wells] was outside in the sleigh while he came in, but there were too many people in the office for us to have any conversation.

At evening I went down home and waited for John Q. as usual. Today had letter from Belle all are well at present. Late reaching the Farm and very cold and uncomfortable weary O, so weary and no good news to cheer me or give comfort. Margaret is quite sick. I have a severe headache. Could not go to see my husband <to-night> [p. 34] {p. 37}

11 January 1888 • Wednesday

George Q. Cannon is 61. years old today. I came up very late and Annie with me; she took Verona down with her to stay all night. I have made all preparations to go and see my husband this evening, and have been in anticipation of it all day. He expected me last night. I went to Mell’s and had dinner and then came down home and made a nice fire fully expecting to see John Q. but he did not come. At about ten minutes to ten I left the house and went up to his room. He was waiting for me. I took him a Poem entitled A Fragment– stayed until 1/2 past 2 A.M. How inconsistent it is for husband & wife not to be able to see each other no matter what the occasion may be. It is the effect of the Edmunds Tucker Law [p. 35] {p. 38}

12 January 1888 • Thursday

This morning I rose very late as a consequence of going so late to bed. Mell was very much disturbed because the water pipes had burst. I am so sorry when one troubles so about such small things. I tried to help her to feel better but it was not much use. Came down town and worked all day no mail but newspapers. Weather has moderated some what. Ort [Orson F. Whitney] has been to see me twice today. He seems exultant over his position as clerk in the Legislature. As the time approaches that I must leave my dear old home-nest I feel more and more how it will rend my heart-strings. I am in a strange mood today. Came down home at evening and made a fire in the parlor and sat waiting and writing. [p. 36] {p. 39}

13 January 1888 • Friday

Today has been extremely cold and O, my heart is nearly broken. There seems no good thing for me. Went down with John Q. last night and he seemed to be somewhat sad. We came up this morning together and the snow was quite deep. The wind too was severe. I engaged Annie Hamilton to go to Annie until help can be obtained competent. O, so many heart-rending things to distress one. When can there be a change for the better with me. Snow, Snow, Snow. Did not go home this evening, staid at Mell’s Harry Culmer came over and talked of his painting the figure for which Verona sat. We had quite a pleasant evening though, in consideration of her going away I must stay with her <all I can–> [p. 37] {p. 40}

14 January 1888 • Saturday

To day is so severely cold one can scarcely go outside John Q. came up in the cutter and when he called,– told me he had been to the grave-yard. He took me to the 14th Ward meeting. Sister Zina presided and Sisters Sarah M. [Granger] Kimball B. W. [Bathsheba Wilson Bigler] Smith & E. [Elizabeth Anderson] Howard were also upon the stand. I was called upon to offer the opening prayer. I had dreamed the night before of being with Sister Eliza [R. Snow] and others in her room in the Lion House and she said to me, after asking us all to kneel down around her bed, Sister Wells I want you to be mouth in prayer and I began to pray very earnestly, when she impressed me without speaking by her manner and presence to pray for mighty faith, that [p. 38] {p. 41} the sick might be healed and great things done by the women of Zion.

15 January 1888 • Sunday

Last evening went down to the house and sent off some little gifts to friends and wrote some letters. One to Br. [John A.] Leishman in the Temple about the baptism and sealing of my dead sister11 on the 12th of October 1876, in the Endowment House in this city. Paper is out

Today Sunday 15. Had dinner in the Old Home, Annie and children were there, felt very lonely yet glad to be together once more. Little Q. [George Q. Cannon] did not seem very well. Margaret is better. We looked over music and old letters began to put some into boxes. We had roast veal potatoes, bread & butter, mince & cranberry pie & fruit cake [p. 39] {p. 42}

16 January 1888 • Monday

Last evening I staid in the old home looking over papers & letters, burning those that were worthless and so forth. About ten o’clock went up to Mell’s. This morning went late to the office and commenced work at the mailing etc. Ellen was folding and so on. Looked over the empty rooms in the house. Dr. E. R. [Ellis Reynolds] Shipp called upon me and told me of her visit to Philadelphia and her lecture to the students on the physical benefits of plural marriage. In the evening I wrote a letter to a melancholy friend. Read a little French, wrote some other notices and went over much that was past in memory. Visions and remembrances rose up chilling my life’s blood almost and tears rushed hot and fast. [p. 40] {p. 43}

17 January 1888 • Tuesday

Today Mary Jane [Whitney Groo] is forty-four years old. How strange it seems to look back over these years. The weather is moderating, many have suffered from the severe cold in places East of the Rocky Mountains. I have heard from the farm “Solitude” this morning Geo. Q. is sick and tonight I must go down to see him. I dined at Mell’s and afterwards went down to the house alone, kindled a fire in the parlor and commenced going over letters again, then read in a book of art until eleven, then drove to Annie’s where we had a lunch. Louise was quite sick during the night. We had very little sleep and the cold was intense though there had been a fire in the room. Wrote to Bell today. [p. 41] {p. 44}

18 January 1888 • Wednesday

This morning Annie came up with me late and we did a few errands. called on Eliza [Sarah Snow] Dunford, have had a man working at the house, completed the mailing. Slept at Mell’s have not felt very well, Mell had a letter from Will [William W. Woods] with a check for fifty dollars. Brown’s have given up the house and I am truly glad. It seems to me to be better. Mell is very nervous and is working away hard at her topic Henry the 8th and his wives.12 I feel very anxious about her and also Verona– I am devoting my very best thoughts to the subject and praying for wisdom to guide me aright. I hope it will turn out for the best their going away, but I know not. I am left very lonely and I feel it very keenly indeed. Heaven help me & give me grace to endure [p. 42] {p. 45}

19 January 1888 • Thursday

This morning as usual came down late. Ellen is at the dear old home superintending the taking up of carpets moving furniture & so on. How it hurts me to see anything touched or handled by strangers. I have been very much annoyed in many ways today. Called at the house a minute or two. Only saw Susan [Alley Wells] & Lydia Ann. I have been troubling myself much of late, but hope to get patience to bear all. Sisters [Minerva White] Snow & [Jane Snyder] Richards have both been in. It is hard to keep from saying anything to them that will cause difficulty. Went down to see Aunt Zina about going to Centerville she had forgotten it and tomorrow is the Conference. She promised to go and take Presendia [L. Huntington Kimball]. I had been invited but could not fill the appointment [p. 43] {p. 46} on account of other duties. George S. [Shepard] Taylor returned from New Zealand tonight after three years absence.

20 January 1888 • Friday

Went down to Annie’s early last night and came up with her this morning. There has been a grand leap year ball in the theatre. such dressing, such dancing etc. Geo. Q. came up with us the weather has greatly moderated, and it is going to snow. We are still trying to get things fixed to move Ellen & Br. [Sylvester] James. I go down and tire myself out looking on. Called over at C. [Claudius] V. Spencer’s last evening. How strange it seems to leave this ward after a residence of 35 years. Last night Louise dreamed of her Aunt Louie [Louisa Wells Cannon] and woke up Geo. Q. in the night to tell him. She said Louie had on a white apron. [p. 44] {p. 47}

21 January 1888 • Saturday

Slept at Mell’s last night after a rather interesting evening spent in the old home here with my dear Verona. Have been walking so much today I am quite weary. Spent the evening here alone. Had a letter from Belle today. More carpets up and preperations going on slowly. A very serious thaw, such a sudden change seems almost dangerous. Mell & Annie & Verona have all had letters from Daisie this week. She seems to be having a nice winter there. Bought tickets for Verona & Ellen to go to the theatre to Monte Cristo. How we used to enjoy going there before this dreadful sorrow fell upon our household and took all the brightness out of our lives. We can never forget the past. with its struggles and trials [p. 45] {p. 48}

22 January 1888 • Sunday

Went up to Mell’s very late indeed, was sitting at home in the dear old parlor writing and was not aware of time. This morning Verona went over to Nett Culmer’s to pose for Harry. Mell is going to dine with Mrs. McKay.13 I came home about noon, made a fire & tried to do some work looking over old letters and hunting for lost articles. About 5 o clock p.m. John Q. came and wanted me to go down to the Farm. I left all, the dear old place where my heart is so fixed, and he went with me to notify Mell and we drove down quickly. He went to the Ward meeting and I went on to see Annie. Spent the evening talking over the occurrences of the week. We were in the sweet little parlor. John Q. came from meeting and the conversation was <general> [p. 46] {p. 49}

23 January 1888 • Monday

This morning came up late with the German boy Herman. Bought some things for Annie, found Ellen the girl sick and that put an end to all arrangements about moving. Worked hard all day at copy etc. and went down home at evening completely exhausted. Sister [Mary Isabella Hales] Horne came to see me today the first time after her return from the South & West. Sarah Kimball happened in at the same time.

The weather has changed wonderfully and it seems almost like Spring to us here in this locality. Spent the evening with Mellie had a pleasant time and yet I was thinking of my desire to meet my husband and talk to him in private. A sort of unaccountable longing [p. 47] {p. 50}

24 January 1888 • Tuesday

It is Will [William W. Wood]’s birthday and was our dear little Sidney [W. Sear]’s. We always remember this day. It was a memorable day to me. I rose very late and came to the office as early as possible because Ellen was not well enough to come. The Irish brother who has been working for me made the fire and then I set to work. Soon after noon my husband came, and his statement in reference to last evening confirmed me in the belief that two people separated by distance may have the same longings at the same time, and that there is a connection phychological psychological that is not yet defined by scientists. We are as happy perhaps in our ignorance as if we attained to knowledge. He spent the afternoon with me talking and reading. [p. 48] {p. 51}

25 January 1888 • Wednesday

Last night I spent with my husband at least until a very late hour; then to Mell’s which is of course near enough to be less dangerous. What a state of things we are in to have to observe such secresy! Well we must bide our time and trust all will be well for those who are sincere. He told me his financial circumstances were very dreadful. Still he has hopes of being able to stem the tide!. Annie came up and went home with me to dress and took me in the buggy to Mrs. [Henrietta Dyer] Ellerbeck’s to a meeting and entertainment I enjoyed it very much and spoke a few minutes to the girls. Other sisters who spoke were Zina Young, M. I. Horne P. L. Kimball, S. M. Kimball, E. S. Taylor, M. A. [Mary Ann Burnham] Freeze, M. C. [Margaret Curtis] Shipp, M. H. [Martha Horne] Tingey. We had an elegant dinner everything delicious. [p. 49] {p. 52}

26 January 1888 • Thursday

This is my eldest grandson’s birthday [Septimus Whitney Sears] he is fourteen. I sent him a present but fear he will not get it in time. It was a dressing case containing Hand glass brush & comb. Annie sent him a plush handkerchief bag. Verona stayed with me last night in the dear old home. How pleasant it seemed and we enjoyed it very much indeed. Sat up quite late and slept together. This morning Verona was ill and though she prepared breakfast could not eat at all. We went up together and she went on home and I to the office. Went up there to lunch however and found her still in bed. Mell went to tea at Kate [Wells]’s today. Zine [Zina Smoot Whitney] has been to invite Louise & Q. to Kittens [Emily Whitney’s] party Saturday. I have been in the office talking to Angus M. Cannon. [p. 50] {p. 53}

27 January 1888 • Friday

Sent off In Memoriam with Souvenir to my sister Lucy [Woodward Granger Hewlings] today. And sent a remembrance to Sister [Mary Ann Farnes] House of Grantsville. Had a woman cleaning today in the old house, have been very much wounded twice today. If I can bear these thrusts, can live under such grievous wrongs and not retaliate, I shall feel I have overcome in some degree, for my pride is hurt, and I feel very keenly these indignities. I pray I may know how to bear my burdens and be meek and lowly in spirit. I went home towards evening and found the water had broken loose, and the kitchen flooded. I succeeded in having it turned off and stayed at home a little while when John Q. came and took me up to Mell’s, Verona had gone to dancing school– [p. 51] {p. 54}

28 January 1888 • Saturday

This morning read the revise. Wanted very much to go to meeting in the 14th. Ward, but could not as I must see the copy off the press. Sister Minerva W. Snow. Elizabeth Howard, Aunt Zina Young Elmina S. Taylor and quite a number of other sisters including Jane S. Richards have been in to see me. I saw my husband this morning also yesterday. Annie came up and took the children to little Emily Whitney’s party. She also went over to Mell’s with them. I have been suffering from neuralgia terribly today. Came home at evening quite distressed, did not stay very long however. Sent off gift book to Sisters E. H. [Elizabeth Harrison] Goddard, & Ann [Seetree] Tate– Wrote to Sister [Hannah Hill] Romney in Mexico & sent 50,00 draft [p. 52] {p. 55}

29 January 1888 • Sunday

This morning felt quite ill. Mell was low-spirited and it made me very gloomy. About 1/2 past eleven Annie came and all the children. We stayed to dinner Nina [Selina Winters Leverich] and husband14 were also there. After dinner we came down here to get some things ready to go up to the other House tomorrow. Letter from Belle told me she had all her silver stolen that is what she generally uses on her table. How dreadful to be surrounded with thieves. I have been going over the old places and crying over past scenes and recalling those now passed away behind the vail. Annie and her little troop are gone home and I am here alone here in the dear old home I love so well, where I have toiled so long and sorrowed so much and also been supremely happy [p. 53] {p. 56}

30 January 1888 • Monday

Went up to Mell’s after looking over old letters and burning many papers etc. Felt very ill and went to bed in agony with pains in my limbs. This morning felt a little better and came down to the House to commence moving. Such associations and reminiscences as it calls up I have no language to express. In the midst of all when quite alone in walked Kate, and I was so alarmed that it produced for me a still more sorrowful feeling. Every spot, every nook and corner is so dear to me, and to think of parting with my home is indeed dreadful. This evening my husband called he wanted me to come up and spend the night with him or at least so much [p. 54] {p. 57} of it as we are permitted under the circumstances.

31 January 1888 • Tuesday

I could not go I felt too ill and depressed. I went over to the Clawson Home to take a note for Verona as she had been invited to attend a Leap Year Ball at the Cannon Home & wanted to secure Fred [Thomas Alfred] Clawson for a partner.

This morning is Aunt Zina’s and Jane Richard’s birthday it is to be celebrated at Phebe Beattie [Phoebe Young Beatie]’s. I went & wore my black silk. Took them each a Autograph Album all the ladies present wrote their names in them. We had delicious refreshments served. Aunt Zina is 67 and J. S. R. [Jane Snyder Richards] is 65. There were 25 or 30 ladies present In the evening an impromptu meeting was presided over by Sister Presendia. All spoke or nearly so. Dispersed about nine or 1/2 past.15 [p. 55] {p. 58}