The Church Historian's Press

December 1888

1 December 1888 • Saturday

Seven o’clock train to Provo this morning, Sister Richards was there waiting for me, when I arrived, we went direct to Sister Mary [Wride] John’s who is the President of the Relief Society of Utah Stake and had a cup of tea, then to the meeting house, where the sisters had already gathered. Sister John invited me to speak first, and I consented, Sister Richards following. We dined at Br. [David] John’s Elias Morris was there also; in the afternoon there was a much larger congregation and again I had to speak first. We came home on the evening train and Sister Richards invited me to dine with her at the Valley House, which I accordingly did. In the evening commenced a letter to my husband, but was so weary I could not finish it. [p. 360] {p. 363}

2 December 1888 • Sunday

This morning slept late, then prepared my own breakfast and afterwards finished a long letter to my husband. Then rushed off to catch the afternoon train for Ogden, John Q. Louise and Margaret were there to meet me, and we had dinner almost immediately; Louise seemed to be quite ill. She complains of a pain in the back of her head and Annie feels quite alarmed about her. I tried to help Annie in attending to her, but she wanted her mother. We could not enjoy anything very much on account of Louise being so sick. We had a fire in the parlor and spent the evening there making the best of the time but we all felt a little sad on Louise’s account. The weather is very cold. [p. 361] {p. 364}

3 December 1888 • Monday

Came down on the early train Emeline was here working away at single wrappers, about noon, a sister came to see if she could stay with me and I arranged with her to come and wait upon me. Sister Froerer from Eden– she seems quiet and unassuming. I went to see Aunt Zina she has come back because of not feeling well and is at Sister Phebe [Young] Beattie’s. Lydia Ann [Alley Wells] and I called to see Sister Louie [Louisa King] Spencer, she is down with typhoid fever, looks very bad indeed. had a letter from Belle today, she has seen Nellie Colebrook and Nellie has been to visit her. Sister Taylor came to see me this afternoon, she is much exercised about Nellie’s seeing Belle, and is rather disagreeable about it. I shall not take much notice <however–> [p. 362] {p. 365}

4 December 1888 • Tuesday

This morning went out on errands and felt very weary, there does seem so much to do. Called at my Sister Adeline’s and saw Lutie Fuller Davis and her four children.1 In the afternoon I went out again, in the evening Dr. [Romania] Pratt paid me a visit and I gave her a cup and saucer Chinese and a pretty shell. Afterwards I wrote a letter to Mell. I sat up very late wrote an editorial on the Life of Heber C. Kimball & an Editorial Note of three pages on a Medical Work– Really I have tried to get a little time to write a poem but it seems almost impossible. Heard today that Aurelia Spencer Rogers was dying. Feel very anxious about little Louise who was so ill when I left Ogden Monday morning. Sister Tate came to see me today [p. 363] {p. 366}

5 December 1888 • Wednesday

This is Sister [Elizabeth Harper] Brooks birthday. She is 83 years old– I have been busy fixing up Hospital accounts, Adeline called to see me, and showed me some of the things she had brought from Mass. to Catharine [Haskell] Woodbury– Went to the Hospital Meeting this afternoon Ellen [Spencer] Clawson came to see me, and said her sister was better. After meeting today Aunt Zina, Sister Smith and myself had a nice little visit. Four of us stayed and took tea with Dr. Pratt. I do feel so uneasy about Little Louise. There is a great deal of sickness in the City and many deaths.– I have been busy tonight wrapping up papers to send away and also a present for Verona for her birthday a pretty pink silk scarf Chinese handsomely embroidered & fringed– [p. 364] {p. 367}

6 December 1888 • Thursday

Today is Adeline’s birthday and I should go and call at her house, but it is impossible, I leave by the 3,40 train for Ogden to see my own darling Annie, whose birthday comes tomorrow. A lovely basket of flowers have come from Reading’s that I ordered for her– heliotrope and hyacinths and carnations and other kinds that are fragrant with perfume. O, how heavenly the flowers seem, how much they remind me of my darling baby who has gone! Took Annie also “Lady Clare” Arrived about 5. p.m. She met me at the depot. We had a pleasant evening– John Q. gave her such an elegant copy of “Faust & Marguerite”– very large Mell sent her a dressing towel and Belle gave her a Chinese Vase. She seems quite happy and cheerful [p. 365] {p. 368}

7 December 1888 • Friday

This morning we rose late after the night’s revelry, for we had been up until nearly morning and then we went out for a ride a short time and home again to dinner, and soon after I had to take the train for home, so there was not much visiting done Louise is better but very tiresome and Annie is not equal to any extra care or anxiety. Sweetie Q. & Margaret each had a little present for Mamma Q. a box of checkers, Sweetie a copy of Fitz Greene Halleck’s poems and Margaret a [blank space]. Came home & set to work reading proofs was in hopes there would be a letter from my husband but found none. Aunt Zina and Sister Smith have gone to Tooele to attend the Sister’s Conference– [p. 366] {p. 369}

8 December 1888 • Saturday

This is my sister Cordelia [Woodward Holden]’s birthday she is 64 today– and looks so young and fresh– I am busy at work as usual– such a disagreeable day, dark and dismal. Sister [Ruth Newell] Despaines daughter2 of Granite came in to see me, she has buried a child3 recently and has been having dreams about me, she has impressed me with them very much indeed, it seems strange that her thoughts should have been of me but so it is– I do not understand it; she related one or two of her dreams. I have been reading second proofs and preparing for the press. It is lonely here and yet I need solitude all fanciful people do. How else could I court favor with the Muses. I need society too of another sort from what I mingle with usually [p. 367] {p. 370}

9 December 1888 • Sunday

This morning Ort and May had an interview in my parlor and I stayed in the office getting all things ready to go to Ogden by the afternoon train. It does seem as tho’ I ought to get all my work done so I could go out now and then without hurry bustle or anxiety. I have not the tact to throw off daily work and annoyances so as to have leisure for the sweet amenities or charming amusements that give zest and tone to the finer faculties. I wanted to go to the tabernacle but it seemed impossible and therefore I worked all day instead arranging this & that. Left on the 1/2 past 4 train, took Annie a gift from Mamie & Emily Cannon and Kate Wells. Had a nice evening with Annie & John Q. reading and talking lunch in the parlor. [p. 368] {p. 371}

10 December 1888 • Monday

We rose so very late this morning that we had to rush to catch the train; Mrs. Leah [Neibaur] Paul was on the train & talked to me all the way down. She is very much absorbed in Christian Science, believes in it implicitly. She has given up Mormonism for an empty theory only a counterfeit of the real practical matter. So goes the world, this way and that. She is a very stylish looking woman; her husband has been and is a detective. Coming home found the paper delayed. Little Emory [Hedges] very ill, so that Emeline could not come to work. There is a great deal of sickness and sorrow in consequence. In the evening I was so distressed with rheumatism I had Kate come and rub me, After I sat trying to get some little things done, and sorrowing <over> the past– [p. 369] {p. 372}

11 December 1888 • Tuesday

<Deposited Belle’s money today–> This morning May came over it was her birthday yesterday & I gave her an oat meal bowl jug and plate. Also wrote her a few notes on the present crisis in her affairs. Today is Verona’s birthday she is nineteen I must write her a letter. Yesterday I received one from her. Sister Anderson and Fulmer came here and had an interview with Sister Horne, and meantime a stranger Mrs. Nelson Kneass came and introduced herself and we had a pleasant chat. Emery is very ill almost pneumonia, Nanna [Hannah Louisa Young] is also sick– Mrs. Mary [Augusta Hawkins] Snow widow of Judge Z. [Zerubbabel] Snow died this morning with an apopolictic shock. Dr. Pratt came in and read me an article on “The Eyes”– Senator [George F.] Edmunds is introducing a <an amendment or> resolution to make Mr. Deyer [Frank H. Dyer] explain <matters–>4 [p. 370] {p. 373}

12 December 1888 • Wednesday

<Had a call from an English actress Mrs. Nelson Kneass> Today I have written to Belle and Verona last evening sent both off this morning. Went to see Aunt Zina but did not find her have been two or three times to the house over the way to see how Cal’s baby was. Such a lonesome kind of day. Making preparations for going to the Ogden Conference Relief Society– Have tried to mail some but have not succeeded very well and have been preparing copy too. I am trying to write a poem and my thoughts are taken away from it so that I really do not know how to concentrate them. O, how my heart is crushed with the sorrows I have borne. If I had a little more leisure how much more I could do in my own way, but now it is to conform to others’ wishes. And there is so much I would like to do. [p. 371] {p. 374}

13 December 1888 • Thursday

After sitting up nearly all night I rose early dressed hastily and walked to the station, to take the train for Ogden in company with Sister Zina to attend the Conference in that City, of Weber Co. Relief Society consisting of 23. branches. We drove direct to the Tabernacle and went upon the platform. There was a large congregation assembled and the meetings both forenoon and afternoon were interesting we introduced the subject of the National Enrollment and made some explanations.5 Spoke at each meeting for a short time. Went to dinner at Sister Richards had a very nice time, and delicious dinner. Went after meeting to Annie’s and we had a nice dinner again at 7. p.m. The children are better but Annie is very nervous. Stayed all night we sat up very late in the sitting room [p. 372] {p. 375}

14 December 1888 • Friday

<Had a letter from Belle & Mell today> This morning it was raining Annie took me to the depot in her carriage. Did not see Sister Richards or Aunt Zina came home found Emery very ill indeed, in a sort of stupor– Such a gloomy day. Sister E. S. Taylor called and staid a short time. Rain pouring in torrents. Went out down to Sister [Agness Steele] Park’s past my dear old home! How desolate it looked and my heart ached O, so much when I saw the fence down and the apparent neglect. A thousand visions rise up before me, when I see the garden the orchard etc. Sister Jenny [Jane Blackwood] Mc’Lean and Sister B. W. Smith were both there and Sister Maggie Caine. We had a pleasant evening and Br. [Hamilton Gray] Park took each of us home in the buggy. Emery is better tonight I do not feel much like work– it is such a gloomy evening [p. 373] {p. 376}

15 December 1888 • Saturday

Today I have tried so hard to do my mailing but only sent off city papers and those I carried down to the Post Office myself– came home and tried to work a little– Maggie Shipp has a very sick child– I have been wondering what I ought to do about Christmas and cannot quite decide in my own mind– It will be a very queer kind of Christmas without any of the girls, but I must not give way to my feelings in this regard– To be brave however under all circumstances is exceedingly difficult– and at times my feelings really do over come me– I have not the heart to do or to attempt things that were once of very little moment to me. The weather is quite cold– I have made up my mind to go to Ogden by the noonday train tomorrow [p. 374] {p. 377}

16 December 1888 • Sunday

<Lyde [Eliza Wells] came home> This morning I lingered around but went to the Post office at noon in hopes there might be a letter from one or other of the girls, but there was not– Mell [Melvin D.] Wells took me to the depot– I arrived in Ogden about 4 o’clock John Q. and Annie came to the depot to meet me and all the children– Dinner was on the table and then we had a pleasant fire in the parlor and visited and looked over the beautiful books and things of that sort. Margaret is not very well & Q. had a dreadful cough– John Q. is kind of sick too but we had late supper in the parlor as usual and enjoyed it very much indeed The weather is not very fine and I fear rather unhealthy but if frost comes will most likely be better. It seems so strange that winter has come [p. 375] {p. 378}

17 December 1888 • Monday

Such an ill-fated day, late for the train and lost my satchel out of the buggy– It contained passes on the Railroad money rings three of them one an Amethyst with diamonds one plain gold one set with turquoise and pearls– my gold eye glasses and chain and other valuables Louie’s heavy gold pin such a good one her best pocket pen knife and her best scissors– We hunted the town over just about and notified the police and spent the whole day in endeavars to find some clue to the lost things– but nothing was gained– advertised in the evening paper. I came down arriving after dark and found the house locked up and the woman gone no fire no nothing all so dismal– [p. 376] {p. 379}

18 December 1888 • Tuesday

<Lutie [Lucy Fuller Davies] & children were here and spent the day, her husband6 came to dinner–> This morning had to begin preparing copy– and it keeps me busy making fires and cooking a little not very much either– but it seems impossible to get my mailing done– try as I will and at night I am so very weary and I really am not equal to the work I undertake to do. I have to begin doing a little towards preparing Christmas Gifts. Mell and her family are so far away that I feel as tho’ their things must go off consequently I have been out trying to gather up some thing suitable and to remember each one as I ought and as I would like always considering the limited means at my disposal– I have purchased a warm muff for my darling daughter Mell– for Daisie a crepe fichu and for Verona kid gloves and a pretty fan. [p. 377] {p. 380} for Will a silk handkerchief and for Ellen [Hitchings] an embroidered one.

19 December 1888 • Wednesday

Did not get to the Express office in time last night so went down with the box this morning– had a letter from Annie Margaret has had the croup very bad indeed. Poor Annie I am so very sorry for her, it is very hard to keep up at night in her condition. And really I am not able to do much to help her or even to wait upon myself– Mrs. Richards has been to see me and several other ladies today. I am glad Mells Christmas things have gone and I do hope I shall get Belle’s off in time. I have fixed upon one or two of the presents for them and may be I can decide soon enough– no news of my lost satchel yet. I am very much afraid it will not be returned. [p. 378] {p. 381}

20 December 1888 • Thursday

This is the Conference of the Relief Society of this Stake but I cannot attend this morning– I am trying to do a little mailing and to see after the things I want to send to Belle– I seem to tire out very quickly– hunting Christmas without much money is very difficult– Went to the Conference in the afternoon and spoke a short time in regard to the National Enrollment– and distributed the headings– to the Presidents of the Relief Society in the various wards in the County. After I came home I went down town and looked for a faub [fob] chain for Annie to present to John Q. and also took Belle’s box to the Express office it was very heavy– Sent Mr. Sears Saxe’s poems Bell “Miss Lou,” by E. P. Roe and also a lemon colored fichu [p. 379] {p. 382} crêpe– Dot. “The Princess,” Sep– “The Comic Speaker” Lucile “Little Lord Fauntleroy” Emmie “Sarah Crewe”– Eugene Christmas book, with painted pictures, Brent, a box containing knife fork spoon and napkin ring– Elise “Pen”– this was all except some copies of [Salt Lake] Herald[,] [Woman’s] Exponent– Family Herald picture of “our Em” with her hat on;

21 December 1888 • Friday

this is a busy day wanted very much to go to the Young Ladies’ Conference but could not do so. Sister Richards and Sister Smith went in the morning– and spoke awhile to the young ladies– This is Louis [Robison] Wells birthday– it was the birthday of my mother [Deiadama Hare Woodward] she would have been very old if she had lived until now. Her death was exceedingly sad & her unknown grave in the Western wilds a victim to cruel [p. 380] {p. 383} persecution.

22 December 1888 • Saturday

Today the paper is out for the Christmas– and I have sent off some packages & cards of greeting with them. To the subscribers who pay me. It is Primary Conference and I had promised myself the pleasure of attending, but could not on account of the paper How fast the time goes. Today my husband came up from Manti– June met him at the depot and took him home– I purchased a silver match safe for Annie to present to John Q.– and it is to be engraved with his initials. I have decided on one or two things for the little folks at Ogden– I have not done anything much towards my mailing even of last week– and now here is another paper on my hands. Matter to be prepared for January too– letter from Verona says Mell is suffering from bronchial trouble– [p. 381] {p. 384}

23 December 1888 • Sunday

<Joseph Smith’s birthday Anniversary> This morning I stayed in & kept the gate locked trying to rest and do one or two little things– at noon I dressed and went to the Tabernacle– Br. Nicholson was preaching– and the sacrament passing– some of the members of the Idaho Legislature were there also an English Lord– my husband was in his former accustomed seat in the stand; how grand he looked! the sermon was an excellent one. After meeting I called upon Dr. M. P. Hughes, whose little girl Elizabeth [Cannon] is very ill. Then I went to the big house to dinner, afterwards met my husband in the West parlor– Lydia Ann and myself went to the meeting in the 18th Ward meeting house– Home Missionaries spoke– one was Arthur Stayner– I went over with Lydia Ann– and afterwards spent the night with my husband– there– [p. 382] {p. 385} or at June’s

24 December 1888 • Monday

Today all is bustle and excitement getting ready for Christmas– stores are full streets too and holiday goods is are plentiful– I have finished my purchases– and have had some flowers brought from Reading’s. A turkey came on Saturday– For Annie I bought a shawl soft white for the shoulders, John Q. a book [blank space] Geo. Q. “The Christmas Book” Louise a toy reindeer and Margaret a toy cat– cards and so forth– took the afternoon train and found John Q. at the depot waiting. Annie and all in usual health and so glad to see me– bright fire in the parlor, weather dreadfully cold. Santa Claus kept coming until late. at last we succeeded in getting the children into bed and then Annie began undoing the packages & filling the stockings. [p. 383] {p. 386}

25 December 1888 • Tuesday

This morning Q. was up first tho’ Annie & I had sat up long after midnight and had wished each other a Merrie Christmas– even if our hearts did ache– John Q. too came home and spoke to me and Annie went with him into the parlor to look at the children’s things for they had each a chair full and more beside their stockings being filled with candy, nuts raisins and oranges. I was very late in getting up– but Q. came to me about seven o’clock and told me how glad he was. Santa Claus had brought him the two things he most wanted & they were boots and a sled. And said he, “I am satisfied” We had a nice happy day, so far as any unpleasantness of any sort was concerned there was nothing to mar our peace– even the servant girl was on her good behavior– [p. 384] {p. 387}

26 December 1888 • Wednesday

Last evening after having had an elaborate dinner of turkey vegetables– plum pudding and all sorts of good things, we had lunch in the parlor and champagne– rum– dry. John Q. gave me a gold ring with opals. emerald– and ruby Annie gave me a handsome perfumed handkerchief case– Belle sent me a knitted purse steel beads and steel rings– heavy– Mell a zephyr shoulder cape– black with lavender ribbons both their own handiwork– Daisie sent me a card her own painting and Verona colored blotter her own painting on it– tulips. Dot sent me a card– Sep a crazy patch tidy. his own work Lucile a white ribbon Em– a card– Lydia Ann gave me a book of poems illustrated– Kate & May & Emeline each remembered me. Hebe gave me a bottle of perfumery– <St. Stephen’s day> [p. 385] {p. 388}

27 December 1888 • Thursday

I stayed at Annie’s all day, yesterday and came down with the evening train– today is May Earl’s birthday, she is 29– years old– Hugo [D. Wells] was hurt today in coasting, cut his forehead and had to have some stitches put in it. Emeline invited me to go over to dinner but I did not feel well enough– my eyes have been very bad indeed especially the left one– she expected her father to dine with them. Kate called this evening, also Sister Richards and her son Franklin S.– Sister Howard was here today– Mrs. Sarah [Bates] Pratt the first wife of Orson Pratt the Apostle was buried today– so was Mrs. Martha [Milnes] Needham– the weather is very cold and the snow has begun to come down– sleigh bells are ringing– out in the keen cold air I was not well enough to go out to dinner, so Emeline sent me some over here– [p. 386] {p. 389}

28 December 1888 • Friday

This morning I was not well enough to get up– Some callers came and I excused myself– it is a miserable day very– our mailing lags along– I got up about eleven and as soon as I had some breakfast went to work, but we were so behindhand that work as we might we could not do all– then sending out the cards makes extra work– there is not much going on that interests me– and my head and eyes are not in very good condition any way– Have not seen my husband since Monday morning– nor have I heard from Annie since I came home– had a letter from Mell and have written to both Belle & Mell– since Christmas– I have been alone all this evening and felt sick and lonely indeed have been sorting and arranging cards for my subscribers– [p. 387] {p. 390}

29 December 1888 • Saturday

This morning I rose late for I had slept very little and indeed had been quite ill and nervous, heard the clock strike each time & felt very uncomfortable generally. About noon my husband came and we had a fire in the parlor and talked and read and visited and enjoyed the afternoon very much– he seems more to me than ever before. and I seem far more to him. Dr. M. P. Hughes was in and brought me a very pretty bunch of choice delicate roses. A pretty gift indeed. Aunt Zina came and we talked a little about public matters– I went down town and dined and made a few purchases. Ort Whitney was in and we had a little talk on private matters– I have not had a letter from my girls written since Xmas although I think it is about time, gave my husband the picture from Annie of Louise [p. 388] {p. 391}

30 December 1888 • Sunday

Rose very late, breakfasted alone– and prepared for the afternoon meeting, Moses Thatcher and John Morgan were the speakers. “When shepherds watched their flocks by night”– and afterwards went to the Big house to supper– Lyde and Emeline invited me– Rule and his family were there and Mrs. Lottie [Charlotte Crandall] Fobes– after dinner was over– I called at F. S. Richards previous to his going to Washington and bade him Good bye– went on to the Eighteenth ward, Moses Thatcher was speaking and Ort spoke afterwards. Aunt Zina and I walked home together– and talked over some matters pertaining to the organizations, and then I sat up and wrote an article “Christmas Thoughts”7 and did not finish until three or four o’clock in the morning– [p. 389] {p. 392}

31 December 1888 • Monday

Monday morning rose early and went to breakfast across the way, then to work at finishing the mailing,– O, how tedious it is now that I am alone. Succeeded in getting through but had to take the 9.20 train. Drove up in a carriage found a nice fire in the parlor. Q. & Eugene & all were in bed except Margaret who was quite sick– Annie & I were alone together when the old year went out and the new one came in. How different every thing is from the former days. and how changed we all are– from what we once were– if it were not for those dear little grand-children how could I ever endure the loneliness. As it is I am nearly distracted. It is all I can do to keep up my courage– but I know I must not give up at any rate not now– while Annie is so delicate. Old year good bye– [p. 390] {p. 393}

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December 1888, The Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells, accessed July 21, 2024