The Church Historian's Press

January 1891


24 February

While attending National Council of Women meetings in Washington, DC, EBW helped form a women’s international press federation.

10–12 March

EBW briefly visited her brother and two sisters in Massachusetts.

24 March

Daniel H. Wells died in Salt Lake City. EBW sat at his bedside through the night and, with others, was present when he passed away.

2 June

As EBW noted in her diary, in this period Church leaders began encouraging members of the Utah People’s Party to change affiliation and join one of the two national parties, Democratic or Republican.

21 July

Belle Whitney Sears and her family moved from San Francisco to live in Salt Lake City. In August, Melvina Whitney Woods traveled from Idaho to visit EBW for a month.

31 October

Utah writers organized a Utah Woman’s Press Club in EBW’s office and elected her president.

1 January 1891 • Thursday

We sat out the old year tho Annie [Elizabeth Ann Wells Cannon] felt quite ill, but John Q. [Cannon] came home before midnight and stayed an hour and a half. Annie went to bed and I waited up until John Q. came back went to bed before three A.M. This morning we had breakfast together and John Q. took me to the train, arrived in Salt Lake about eleven o’clock & came home to a lonely house, made a fire and commenced writing on my story and read all my letters– afterwards went up to June [Junius F. Wells]’s then to Orts [Orson F. Whitney] and to Lydia Ann [Alley Wells]’s where I dined with the family & spent a few hours in the parlor, looking at their Xmas gifts– May [Mary Wells Whitney] came part way home with me, and here I am alone as usual with my <own thoughts & memories. My husband1 dined there it was Lydia Ann’s birthday but he seemed very dull sad one might say he was not well & something seemed to trouble him> [p. 31] {p. 34}

2 January 1891 • Friday

Hard at work lots of calls from friends and greetings too. The weather is very fine much too dry and warm for this season of the year The Grand Opera House has opened in Ogden and Emma Abbott sang in her very best style and voice. She sung the “Last Rose of Summer” for an encore. The Opera House is built after the Moorish style and is very grand inside and outside. I have been busy with copy today for the paper– my story “Some Old Love Letters”– I have written three stories this winter.2 [p. 32] {p. 35}

3 January 1891 • Saturday

Today I have been rushing to get ready for Ogden it is the 14th. Ward meeting day but I shall not be able to attend as I must go to Ogden by the afternoon train to take Q.3 and Sweetie [Louise B. Cannon] who have been visiting at the Cannon Farm– Geo. Q. Cannon Counselor to Pres. [Wilford] Woodruff is in San Francisco at present. We reached Ogden all right John Q. and Daniel [H. Cannon] also Margar were at the depot waiting in the carriage– had a pleasant evening and went late to bed as usual. [p. 33] {p. 36}

4 January 1891 • Sunday

Q. is ten years old today and his father has bought him a new suit of clothes cap– shoes and all. His mother has given him some useful things and has sent for “Another Brownie Book” for him that did not arrive in time. I gave him a book and the girls gave him necktie & silk handkerchief– he went to Sunday School as usual. Annie is feeling better, though quite miserable. We had a delicious dinner and Q. has been the hero of the day all around We had lots of pop corn in the evening & candy nuts & raisins [p. 34] {p. 37}

5 January 1891 • Monday

This morning I came home on the 1/2 past nine train. Learned at the depot in Ogden that Emma Abbott had died at 7,45 in the morning, at the Templeton Hotel across from here. Services were conducted there by the Rev. [Robert G.] McNiece of the Presbyterian Church and the body prepared for burial and taken to the train to go to Chicago. It is indeed very sad for one whose voice has such wonderful power to die in her prime, when all the world are anxious to hear her sing. the day is not very pleasant there is a fog hanging over the city and making everything look dismal. Death makes all things seem dismal and when it is one who has given such pleasure to <many it is depressing We had a very pleasant evening and talked of many things my husband came & stayed all night we enjoyed the visit & promised ourselves many more such good visits> [p. 35] {p. 38}

6 January 1891 • Tuesday

Last evening Maille [Marian Beatie Whitney] came and invited me to go to Budd [Horace G. Whitney]’s birthday party this evening and I must try and go. Was not feeling very well but went out and purchased a little gift for him and came home and dressed for the occasion. About 1 2 o’clock my husband left here to prepare for his journey down to the Manti Temple and called about 1/2 past four to get his things. I had given him an elegant book and he had some other things here to go to the Temple. The evening was a very pleasant one at Budds, Mary [Cravath Whitney] his mother and his sister Laura [Whitney Rynders] were there, and about 20 sat down to an elegant repast. [p. 36] {p. 39}

7 January 1891 • Wednesday

Today I have been busy yet lonesome, I felt the absence of my husband although he is almost always away, yet when he leaves all the first few days seem wearisome.

I have had a letter from Belle [Isabel Whitney Sears] telling me the Dr. says Sep. [Septimus Whitney Sears] is troubled with his lungs and heart. So young and so persevering it does seem too bad for him to be afflicted and not able to do his work he had determined to learn the hardware business and now must give it up. I have set my heart on his being a good Latter day Saint and built such hopes upon his helping me in my work for the dead. May heaven grant his heart may turrn [p. 37] {p. 40}

8 January 1891 • Thursday

This is the birthday of Grace Groo who died with diphtheria so young such a beautiful girl. I remember so well when she was born. Went up that day and saw Mother [Elizabeth Ann Smith] Whitney with her in her arms in the old house, and all those that were there then or most of them are dead now. Such a large family and nearly all gone, Mary [Jane Whitney Groo] has two children left Vilate [Groo Taylor] and Roscoe [W. Groo]– How much I have thought about my husband this evening, and wondered how his health was and whether he was waited upon as he should be and warm things prepared for him. Sitting here alone at night thinking over the events of the day one recalls all that has transpired and sits in judgment on one’s self. [p. 38] {p. 41}

9 January 1891 • Friday

There was a meeting of the Board of the Woman’s Store yesterday and sister [Emily Mills] Woodmansee and Gladys [E. Woodmansee] were neither one of them able to attend. I think the sisters are getting on better than they did, and things are getting into shape. I am very anxious the enterprise should be a success and help women who need to work.4 I have been trying to read all my proofs today and some of them are dreadful. To be an editor is not such an easy matter after all and there are so many annoyances and pull-backs. I would far rather be a rigular contributor and be paid for my work even a small compensation than to run a paper that wouldn’t bring me anything and have such a responsibility as I have [p. 39] {p. 42}

10 January 1891 • Saturday

Another day of hurry just got the paper off the press for Jan. 1. it does seem awful not to be more prompt. Could not see the revise in time to catch the 3-30 train had to go at 8 o’clock. Caroline Raleigh was here and took me in her buggy to the depot, found Annie up and all right. Sister Newton5 the nurse was there had come up on Tuesday the sixth inst. We sat up very late. John Q. came home and we chatted to our heart’s content. I told Annie Lutie Thatcher Lynch had a baby on the previous Tuesday. a boy6 weighed nine pounds my eyes are very much inflamed, can scarcely do anything with them. [p. 40] {p. 43}

11 January 1891 • Sunday

This morning Mr. [Joseph B.] Wallace came in and said Olive [Browning Wallace] his wife had a little girl7 born at 2. A.M. this is Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon’s birthday– I felt almost sure Annie would have been sick before now, but she is still up and feels pretty comfortable. We had a fine dinner and then pop corn lots of it and candy etc. I slept here in the parlor last night and shall again tonight such a nice bed, one of the wardrobe beds, so convenient for parlors. John Q. will be with us this evening which seems so pleasant as he is almost always at the office in the evening, and we enjoy his company I can assure you. he is very intelligent and when you can draw him out it is entertaining. [p. 41] {p. 44}

12 January 1891 • Monday

This morning John Q. brought me to the train, Br. F. [Franklin] D. Richards was there and came on down to Salt Lake When I came home I found lots of mail for me and soon after Sister [Mary Isabella Hales] Horne came and informed me there was to be a meeting of the Board of Directors8 and she wished me to be present. The meeting had been called on account of difficulties or feelings existing with some members, who expressed themselves very freely and made great unpleasantness. Caroline Raleigh was much disconcerted and altogether it was a disagreeable affair. In the evening I worked very hard to get manuscript ready for the Juvenile [p. 42] {p. 45}

13 January 1891 • Tuesday

Have been busy preparing copy etc. wrote some letters to ladies East Miss Lucy E. Anthony, Mrs. Jane H. Spofford, Mrs. May Wright Sewall, L. May Wheeler American Publishing Co. and sent for two books “Romance of Two Worlds”– and “Ardath”. Have written to Sep– Had a letter from Sep with special delivery stamp saying he was going home. written from St. Louis– We would like to see him here, but perhaps it will not be practicable. Belle is in very poor health, her hip troubling her very much. Have had a letter from Dot [S. Isabel Sears] & Lucile [L. Lucile Sears]– should be so glad to get a letter from the North.9 Verona [Dunford Hillard] has not written for a long time; and I get so little chance to write myself [p. 43] {p. 46}

14 January 1891 • Wednesday

This day of the week is usually a pleasant and restful one to me when there is any chance whatever for rest, some strangers called today and I have been out as well, and tried hard to work at the mailing but there has been so much copy to prepare and things to do in the house and have not accomplished so very much. However I must try and do what is possible to help forward and keep things going. I am greatly troubled about Sep and Annie & then I have many unpleasant phases to look into. We are talking over an National Council10 and sending delegates to represent us in the Capitol at Washington D.C. Some of the sisters are very free to speak about it. [p. 44] {p. 47}

15 January 1891 • Thursday

<meeting here at 1/2 past one p.m.> This morning Aunt Zina [D. H. Young] came early. I had a letter from Mrs. Eleanor [Cottrell] Martyn of Cleveland enclosing an article by Mary Grant Majors about the Industrial Home11 and plural wives etc. with a picture of the Home and of Mrs. Gen. [Harriet Parish] Bane and Mrs. Sarah A. [Sutton] Cooke. I took it in to Br. [Charles W.] Penrose. I took my copy to the Juvenile today, and Ort has been to see me. A meeting of the officers of the Woman’s Store was held here today. The snow fell some this morning. Lyde [Eliza F.] Wells came in to say she was going to Ogden in the morning and should stay one night at Annie’s. I have written on Sister [Mary Ann Angell] Young’s biography12 to-day and done some letter writing in the way of <business> [p. 45] {p. 48}

16 January 1891 • Friday

Such a day of days. I determined to take a bath & think a little while here alone. I like a few minutes for meditation sometimes and not be always in a bustle. Phebe [Young] Beattie has been in and then Ria [Maria Young Dougall] & Aunt Zina and we have talked. They want me to go to Washington and are determined that I shall. It is little Helen [Hillard]’s birthday and I have been thinking all day how happy they are up there and what rejoicing there will be, and how much I should like to be with them in the midst of it. One cannot always do all one would like for one’s self or for others. God grant the child may live to be comfort and treasure invaluable. [p. 46] {p. 49}

17 January 1891 • Saturday

Mary Jane Whitney’s birthday– a fine day too it is. looking backward over the many years since I knew the family how many scenes and people I can recall that are strange and odd– Grandma [Catherine Davies] Wilson the old nurse in the Whitney family, her image is before me as I sit here alone, the most witty old woman I ever knew in all my life. How old she was when she died 96 years what a great age to live almost a century; at evening I went off on the train to Ogden found Annie quite miserable. Sister Newton in attendance [p. 47] {p. 50}

18 January 1891 • Sunday

We were late getting up and then had breakfast together; Annie is keeping in pretty good spirits considering the tedious waiting and nurse sitting by– All day we were talking over home affairs and trying to make things as lively as possible– Sister Newton spoke confidentially with regard to being sealed to Pres. Wells, and I promised to present the matter to him in the most careful manner– Evidently she has a decided preference for him, and also on my account. [p. 48] {p. 51}

19 January 1891 • Monday

Came home this morning. and found several letters in relation to the Woman’s Council waiting to be seen to and answered, and the affair grows more and more important. Certainly some of the ladies must go down and represent us, and it ought to be those who are well posted on our question and that are well educated and well-informed on generalities– however these things have to be worked out in their own way, but for one so courageous as Mrs. [Emily Tanner] Richards it could not be difficult. Tomorrow we are to call upon Pres. Woodruff and the others and get an expression from them about the Delegates [p. 49] {p. 52}

20 January 1891 • Tuesday

This morning Phebe & Ria & Sister [Elmina Shepard] Taylor and then Aunt Zina called for me to go to the Gardo13 to talk about delegates going down to Washington, to the National Council & Convention. There were in the assembly of ladies, beside myself– Sister Zina, Jane S. [Snyder] Richards, Bathsheba W. [Wilson Bigler] Smith, Elmina S. Taylor, Maria Y. Dougall, Phebe Y. Beattie Emily S. Richards, Sarah M. [Granger] Kimball– there were some remarks made there that were very insulting in my opinion, Mrs. Richards referred to the slight Mrs. Jones had given George Q. Cannon, in a way that was quite offensive, some of these younger women are very self-confident and almost defiant in their manner. It is anything but pleasant to be in their company– [p. 50] {p. 53}

21 January 1891 • Wednesday

Aunt Eliza [Roxcy] Snow’s birthday anniversary she would have been 87 today, a very wonderful woman in life and character. A woman though very thoroughly appreciated in her life-time, and sought after by the Latter day Saints. She wrote a number of books and had the opportunity of publishing them, and many have been sold and by that means the good seed sown broadcast. She often reminded me of Queen Elizabeth in her self-assertion, and in her manner of holding her own against all odds. Her life had not been exactly a happy one, but she filled up her days in usefulness for others. [p. 51] {p. 54}

22 January 1891 • Thursday

Today many of the sisters have been coming in and talking about the representation, quite a number are anxious I should go– but I do not see that it is needful for me, when Sister Richards is going. Sisters from the 8th & some other wards, say they want me to go because they feel that I can represent the people better than most of the other ladies, though for my own part I feel my inability to do what is necessary even, I should like far better to go to Manti and stay with my husband a few days than to go to Washington. [p. 52] {p. 55}

23 January 1891 • Friday

This was the day the Delegates were to be set apart and as Sister J. S. R. was to go to represent the Relief Society I decided not to go up, but Sisters Taylor, Beattie & Kimball all called and wished me to go I consented.

Sister Kimball was blessed and set apart to represent the Suffrage in Convention and by Joseph F. Smith, then her associate Phebe Y. Beattie by Franklin D. Richards– then Sister Richards by her husband, then myself by Heber J. Grant– and Sister [Caroline Stockdale] Thomas by Joseph F. Smith. Pres. Woodruff laid on hands, but did not speak– I was very glad I was not to represent any particular Society or work but to go as a delegate at large for the women of Utah [p. 53] {p. 56}

24 January 1891 • Saturday

Today a telegram came announcing that Annie had a fine daughter14 born, and all going well. Now she has five children such a family of little ones. Sister Newton is with her and I suppose Sister Shipp,15 I am thankful to hear it is over with, such a suspense kept up so long. I did all I could to hurry away and went up on the train at evening, learned that John Q. had sent dispatch to the Esquire16 at Manti & to Belle & Mell [Melvina Whitney Woods] both. Such a sweet baby, and she has been so near to death. with hemorhage, how much women suffer and live through, and how little it is appreciated by men in this world. I am glad to have a nurse that is reliable. [p. 54] {p. 57}

25 January 1891 • Sunday

Came to Ogden last night and found Annie quite comfortable except afterpains, those excruciating, in the extreme. baby is not very fat or large, but singularly beautiful quite out of the ordinary. tall and long featured– considerable hair, and a pretty light color. John Q. seems very pleased & the children are of course delighted. Daniel is so sweet about the baby– but does not fancy it has to do with his privileges. Mentioned going to Washington, Annie wants me to go, thinks it will be a good thing and in some respects so do I. I am suffering very much with my eyes from night work [p. 55] {p. 58}

26 January 1891 • Monday

This is Sep. Jr’s birthday he is seventeen years old– how little I know of him or his life– how I wish I could have kept him with me and made of him a good Latter day Saint– Strange that Mr. [Septimus Wagstaff] Sears should have turned as he did after having preached the Gospel in his native land all those years and had so many manifestations of the truth, and then to seem so indifferent is wholly incredible to me– I know not how to <account for it.> [p. 56] {p. 59}

27 January 1891 • Tuesday

Each day brings its work more and more to do. The suffrage Ass’n, the Hospital the Relief Society, the Exponent with other duties and Primary meetings are really too much for me. Letters to be replied to and letters to be sent out take up more or less time. The sisters come and make complaint and I must give some sort of advice it is really expected of me. A letter from my husband full of love and entreating me to come to him there, and O how much I should enjoy going there and doing some work for my dead and I feel it a positive duty to do so but cannot [p. 57] {p. 60}

30 January 1891 • Friday

I have been sending out letters to all the Stakes of Zion signed by the President Zina D. H. Young and myself as Cor. Sec’y17 asking for means to send Delegates to the National Woman’s Council– I am sure it will be an important step in the right direction if the thing can be accomplished– the weather is very cold and dismal– meetings in the wards today and as many as possible were visited in the interest of the Delegation [p. 60] {p. 61}

31 January 1891 • Saturday

Aunt Zina’s birthday and also Sister Jane Richards– Ri & Phebe made a party and invited sixty or seventy ladies to be present– Aunt Zina is seventy and the girls wanted her to have seventy of her friends but perhaps there were not quite so many. She had printed cards double with name and age and tied with ribbon for each one of her friends. An elaborate lunch handsomely served and lots of fine, sweet music stayed until very late. Br. & Sister Richards came down from Ogden on a late train. There had been a party there for Sister Richards Br. Richards paid great [p. 61] {p. 62} attention to Sister Kimball

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January 1891, The Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells, accessed July 21, 2024