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April 1878

1 April 1878 • Monday

Monday Apr 1st

Called upon Mr. Smith, passenger agent of the Rock Island RR and secured passes for myself to Council Bluffs and for myself and another from Council Bluffs to Chicago. My reason for getting another pass was that I thought if everything was right when I got home and it met Prest Taylor’s views, I would bring my son Jno. Q. back with me to assist me in my writing

2 April 1878 • Tuesday

Tuesday, 2

Called at the Union Pacific Offices and obtained passes for myself home and for myself and son from Ogden to Omaha. The trip was a pleasant one from Philadelphia home. I reached Salt Lake City on Thursday evening being met at the depot by Angus in his buggy, Bro. Brigham, and my son Abram. Angus drove me to Uncle Taylor’s and I had an interview with him and then returned to my house

5 April 1878 • Friday

Friday 5

Called to see my daughter Emily who is living with her aunt Emily Little. She was in excellent health and very glad to see me, I then drove down to the river and saw my wives Sarah Jane and Martha. One of Martha’s children Hester, was not very well suffering from fever. Sickness is very prevalent among children, and her appearance almost indicated scarlet fever but it was not. The Twelve had a meeting at 9 o’clock at Prest. Taylor’s office which I attended. In the evening I attended went down to Sarah Jane’s

6 April 1878 • Saturday

Saturday 6, 1878

I drove over to Martha’s, ate breakfast and returned to the city in time for conference which opened at 10 o’clock. Last evening the Twelve and the two Counselors had a meeting and talked over the indebtedness of the Church of the President’s Estate. We proposed to accept all their bills and their accounts if the [they] would present them duly fortified by evidence. The lawyers of the heirs – Williams and Young stood ready to fight any claim that the Church might present, and the church would be put in the attitude of attacking the Prest’s, estate. I was determined for one that I would not be a party to any such arrangement. Whatever differences of opinion may exist as to the amount the Estate owed the Church, there was no one who understood affairs who did not know that there was a large amount due, and to have the Church forced to sue for that which rightfully belonged to it through the Courts was a proceeding that I was determined I would not be a party to. I therefore said to Prest. Taylor to-day that I would rather he would not call another meeting of the Twelve to discuss this matter, but I said as one executor I would take the property belonging to the Estate and settle the church claim whatever amount the Twelve should think legally due to the church. This would protect the Church and instead of the church having to sue the Estate, the heirs would have to sue us the executors. The suggestion pleased him and I urged him to have all the accounts drown out as quickly as possible and quietly, because I feared if anything leaked out we should have an injunction from the Court to prevent our action.

I shall not dwell upon the proceedings of the Conference as they were published. I spoke on Sunday morning and had considerable freedom and Monday presented the authorities.

8 April 1878 • Monday

Monday 8

Angus took me down to the farm[.] On Tuesday morning before we were up we were visited by Bros. Brigham and Jno. W. Young who were very anxious to get me to attend to business connected with the Estate. We drove up and I spent most of the day on estate business as well as the next day Wednesday. I omitted to mention that after speaking to Prest Taylor about my determination in the matter of the settlement with the Church, I talked with Bro. Brigham and stated my feelings to him. He agreed to do as I did in the business and to leave the entire case to the Twelve. We felt in doing this we were only acting in accordance with Prest. Young’s teaching. Who were we that we could withstand nine of the quorum of the Twelve even if we were disposed to do it! They were united in their view respecting the amount due from the Estate and they have the right to correct any and all errors which they find in the Prest’s accounts. We afterwards saw Bro. Carrington and asked him if he would agree with us in this matter. He declined to do so, saying he had received notice from the Probate Court that some of his bondsmen had expressed a wish to withdraw and that he would have to get new bondsmen. This we viewed merely as an excuse, because Judge Smith assured us that he still had the authority to act, & we so assured him, also told him that we could easily get bondsmen to replace those who had withdrawn; but the fact is he did not think the Twelve had any right to revise Prest. Young’s accounts and he did not want to be a party to a settlement of them on that basis. On Wednesday afternoon Williams & Young – lawyers employed by some of the heirs – were standing at the gate of the Gardo lot, talking with Jno. W. Young when I came up. After talking a little, Parley Williams said he hoped I would not think him impertinent but he desired to ask me a question and get a pledge from me if possible. He said efforts had been made during my absence by some of the Twelve to induce the executors to settle the Church claims. Probably the same efforts would be brought to bear upon me, and he wished me to pledge myself that I would not acknowledge these claims or settle them without submitting them to the Probate Court and giving them a chance to contest them. I refused to pledge myself one way or the other. He then said “we shall have to get the 3rd District Court to enjoin you to prevent your doing this.” I said, “do as you please.” After some conversation, during which, without intending on my part to mislead them, they inferred from my general remarks that I was in favor of accounts going through the Probate Court. Of course this is my view, and would be in the case of the Church were it not for the exceptional circumstances which surround it. I drew out papers of the kind which I thought we should need. The first was a report to the Trustee in Trust from the Auditing Committee, stating the result of their investigations of the accounts and the amount due from the Estate. Then I wrote a paper for the Trustee in Trust and his counselors to sign addressed to us, embodying the report of the Auditing Committee and stating that upon examination they found the account correct. With this was an itemized statement of the account. The Church claimed the Social Hall, the old Holliday and Warner Store where the Museum is now, and all the old constitution lot on East Temple St South of the Council House. This had been deeded to the President they found at $28,648.53. He had made improvements but as he had received rents and profits therefrom, they thought they should be deeded back for the same amount he had been charged for them. We accordingly made out the deeds.

The list of property that we deeded is as follows:

Washington Factory Notes –

Gardo House & Lot


Theatre and Lot


Provo Factory Stock

Z. C. M. I. Stock

Street R.R. Stock

Real Estate (Social Hall,

Constitution Lot & Museum)

Utah Southern Bonds

S. L. City Gas Stock

Empire Mill & Land

President’s Offices

Am’t to be paid to Mrs Mary

Ann Young & Amelia F.



President Young’s services

for 30 years


This covered the entire claim of the Church and a little more as we were not exactly positive respecting the amounts due on Washington Factory Stock. We received a receipt in full of which the following is a copy:


The $20,000 for Sisters Mary Ann and Amelia F. Young was allowed for the purpose of furnishing them suitable places of residence in lieu of their claim on the Gardo house, the President in his will having made no provision for them excepting in the Gardo house. He had stated that they were to live there during their lives, and the Church sympathizing especially with Sister Amelia felt to allow this to furnish them places of their own. I had succeeded in getting Prest Taylor to take this view of their case soon after the President’s death in our first conversations respecting the indebtedness of the Estate to the Church. Another point that I wish to mention here – in our meeting last Friday (the 5th) I noticed they had upwards of $200,000 down as interest on the account. In my conversation on Saturday with Prest. Taylor, when I proposed to turn over sufficient property to meet all their demands I told him I wished they could throw off the interest. It struck me very unpleasantly – the idea of charging Prest. Young interest and I thought it would strike the people unpleasantly. He seemed disposed to have it take some other name but still be retained. He saw however that I had feeling upon the subject, and after the meeting between himself and the auditing committee he took great pleasure in telling me they had struck that out. We received a paper from the church which indemnifies us for what we have done. I do not attach any legal value to this paper, because I do not think one person can indemnify another for doing what may be termed an illegal act. I doubt very much if these claims would stand good in law. The lawyers have been relying upon their being barred by the statute of limitations, but I have the credit by some parties of having induced the President not to deed his property to the Church and on that account as well as because of the feeling of Prest. Taylor and the Twelve on the subject I have determined to take this step and endure all the consequences that might follow. It places the Church in a very different position to what it would be if it had to attack the Estate and sue for its rights. Now if we have done anything improper the heirs can sue us the Executors, and the Church is not drawn directly into the fight. I have felt exceedingly well in doing what I have done in this matter. I have done all in my power to vindicate and sustain the reputation of my friend and benefactor. When this matter was first broached I said and did everything I could to induce Prest. Taylor and the Twelve to take a different view of these accounts to what they did, but I found them inflexible. I differed with them as to the right of the Twelve to take this step, but when I found my brethren united upon the point I concluded it was not my province to ignore them, and though my feelings are not in harmony with theirs that the probabilities are altogether in favor of their views being correct as they are in the majority. Having done everything I could by persuasion and reason to cause them to take a different action, and seeing I could not do it, I resigned myself to their views, and resolved that I would do all in my power to meet them. As it may be of some interest in the future to know what Prest. Young’s intentions were respecting his property I will relate briefly what occurred between him and me. Before this last will was made out, he had another will in which I had been told he deeded half his property to the Church. I had no recollection of seeing that will, certainly not of reading it though I might have done so if I had wished, but as a will to me is a sacred thing I avoided prying into it. He and I had conversations a number of times about his property. He was desirous to leave a portion to the Church, but the great difficulty that constantly presented itself to him was the risk of it escheating to the government. On one occasion he said to me that he would like to turn his property into the Church and I remarked that I thought he had done sufficient for the Church. I was then under the impression which I entertained until some time after his death that the Church was owing him. Familiar as I was with him and his business I had never seen his account with the Church and had not heard how he stood. My impressions concerning his accounts were derived from what he said, that if he had his dues the Church would be in debt to him. When therefore he spoke about turning his property into the Church I remarked that while I did not wish to counsel him it seemed to me that if I were in his place I would not do so and that if he were to do so in a few years it would be lost sight of and his gift would be almost forgotten, whereas if he were to take his property which he did not wish to leave to his family and establish colleges and other institutions that would be a benefit to the people and upon which he could bestow his name they would live and his memory would be kept alive in the minds of the people. They would be an ever-present living evidence of his care and thought for the Saints. What influence my remarks had upon him I cannot say. He did before his death take steps to endow institutions of learning. I drew up the charter of one – the Brigham Young Academy at Provo – that served as a copy for one in Cache Valley and one that was prepared but not signed in Salt Lake Valley. Had I know[n] he was indebted to the Church of course I should not have said what I did. Upon one occasion – probably not more than a year before his death he spoke to me about his will and said there were some things he wanted put in, and wished me to come up on Sunday & we would look through the will. I told him I thought they were already in the will. We opened the will and found my belief correct. Upon that occasion he spoke about leaving his children $10,000 each and giving the rest of his property to the Church. Bro. Reynolds, who was present, informs me that I said to him I would not do so and the matter passed off. My action in this matter has become known to the people by some means. They have heard what I said to him, and I understand some have credited me with being the means of setting aside his first will. This is not true. All that I said to him upon this subject was after the second will, the will that now stands, was made out. I am satisfied that the present will was his own mind and left his estate as he wished it, but after it was drawn out he frequently expressed the wish that he could leave his property some way to the Church, and had a law of Congress not threatened the Church with the confiscation of all over $50,000 I have no doubt that he would have left a considerable portion of his estate. Knowing these facts and in Justice to his memory to clear it from all possible reproach either in or out of the Church and in justice to myself I have felt that I ought to take the steps that I have in settling with the Church, and I feel that when he and I meet he will approve of what I have done. In doing so too I am satisfied I have been the true friend of the heirs. I have shown my friendship for them at many times in conversation with him and whether they believe it or not the fact that they have as much left to them as there is is due somewhat I think to myself. I have said that if it required all the property I have in the world to clear the memory of Prest. Young from any reproach I would gladly give it, and if I felt so about my own property, I certainly think that they should feel so respecting their father’s memory when they will have an abundance besides settling the account of the church. I could not but admire Brigham’s course in this matter. He incurs considerable responsibility and places himself in a position where his own kinsfolk may denounce him and become alienated from him, for there is nothing about which people feel so sensitive even Latter-day Saints who ought to have different feelings. Our meeting kept together until about 2 o’clock on Thursday morning, and I think the Twelve felt more relieved than they had done since the Prest’s death. I am sure that we have done everything in our power to meet their wishes. I wrote a letter and intended to submit it to the Twelve with the request that they would put it on record. Before doing so I thought it better to show it to Uncle Taylor. He read it and said that if this went on record they would be compelled to put their views on record also, and on the whole he was of the opinion that it would be better not to read it to the Twelve nor to ask them to record it, that it was a matter I could keep in my own journal. In writing it I did so with all possible respect for my brethren and I thought it was the least I could do under the circumstances. I consider that they have a perfect right to do as they have done with the views they entertain. They are answerable to the Lord for the spirit which He gives them, and were I in their place I presume I would feel similarly, but as I did not feel so I could only be answerable for the spirit that I had.

For some time I have been talking of letting the Church have my house in the city. Before Prest. Young’s death I offered it to him more than once, but he said he wanted me to keep it and occupy it. After his death I felt strongly impressed to let the Church have it on some terms. I offered it to them if they would credit me with all I had ever drawn or upon any terms that named. I felt that it was too large and conspicuous a house for me to occupy under the circumstances, especially as Prest Taylor’s houses were all small and insignificant. I built by the direction and approval of the President and while he lived I did not feel as I have done since his death. Besides I think that as executor of his estate it were better for me to be not quite so conspicuous. All these causes combined prompted me to take the course I did. I felt that Prest. Taylor ought to occupy it but the brethren did not feel to accept it from me, they thinking I ought to keep it. At one of our counsels Pres. Taylor was authorized to take the house as I offered it free of rent, taking it as a place of residence for himself, the church paying for the fitting up, till some more suitable place or other place could be provided. This he had not done. When I made up my mind to transfer the property of the president to meet his accounts, I also made up my mind that I could not possibly hold my property while there was an account of mine on the books. While Bro. George A. was trustee in trust there was a general settling of the accounts of the various brethren. I had been devoting my whole time for several years to the president’s work, acting as his secretary, etc. After I ceased to be his secretary I still continued to do a great deal at his office. On January 30, 1873 my account was balanced by $27,488.67 on account of services rendered. This was the first credit I received for services. From that time until the present I have drawn $12,676.18, which was to aid me in building. The Twelve have credited me since the president’s death, on the 6th of October 1877 with $6,375 by services rendered, which makes a total of $33,863.67 that I have been credited for services rendered. I had also paid $250.00 to my own credit which left a balance against me of $6,051.18. I have been desirous to find myself in a position where I could restore to the church all I had ever drawn from it for services, so that my labors might be gratuitous. I have paid tolerably heavy tithing and I have felt that if I could square up these credits I should be grateful. Taking the credits and the indebtedness together amounted to $39,914.85[.] In settling up the president’s acct on the evening of the 10th, I offered my house to Prest. Taylor and the Twelve and told them that under no circumstances now could I continue to occupy it. If I were to do so I should expose myself to animadversions on the part of the heirs and others, who might say that while the President lived I was willing to profit by his goodness, and now that he was gone I was equally willing to avail myself of the leniency of the Twelve. I could not occupy such a position, I wanted to square off everything I have received so that I could stand in an unassailable position, showing I had done as much and more to deal with the Church for myself than I had as executor done in President Young’s case. The brethren wanted to know what I asked for my place. I told them I had accounts showing that I had spent upwards of $45,000 upon it without mentioning money that I had spent besides which was a considerable amount. The great bulk was my account with the church which was for material for my house. This was paid to me at tithing office prices which were very high. I would be perfectly satisfied with any decision they reached in the matter. They talked it over, Bro Taylor and Bro. Erastus Snow particularly and fixed upon $60,000. Bro Woodruff had mentioned $75,000 but I protested that was too much. Bro. Taylor said they would give me the privilege of using the house, and if I saw my way to clear to buy it back he would be glad to have me do so. I said if they would give me that amount I would give $5,000 to some educational establishment, and so the matter was arranged in that way, $39,914.85 was placed as an offset to the amounts I had drawn, which squared my account without any credit for services rendered, and the balance was placed to my credit. I feel greatly relieved at having been able to make this disposition of the affair. Ever since the President’s death I have seen the steps which were taken in regard to his accounts, and I have felt that I could not have my accounts stand as they had. Several of the Twelve have not drawn anything of any consequence, for years, and I desired to occupy as strong and favorable a position in this respect as any man in the Church, so that whatever time and labor I had bestowed upon public affairs I could feel that I had done without pay, and I think all who know my life will concede that I have been second to none in spending my time for the public. I reserved a piece of my lot 4 X 6 rods for the Juvenile Instructor office, which is now in course of construction.

I walked down to the farm, had about half an hours’ sleep and Jno Q. and myself started for the city. I had spoken to Prest. Taylor about taking Jno. Q. with me and he approved of it. I arranged for him to be excused from the printing office without losing his place. We called at Sister Emily Little’s found them all in bed, and bade farewell to my daughter Emily and we started at 7 o’clock for the east, reaching Omaha on Saturday. We travelled on the C. and N. W to Chicago where I saw Mr. Myers of the Pittsburg and Fort Wayne. He was at the Grand Pacific Hotel where we stopped for dinner. He gave me a pass for Jno. Q and myself, Bro. Staines having left the day previous, but had arranged for it. We left Chicago on Sunday evening and reached Washington on Tuesday morning. Was glad to meet those whom I had left and to find them in good health. At the House on Tuesday, Wednesday[,] Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Senate passed a resolution to adjourn on the 10th of June & the House would have passed it but for party tactics on the part of Democrats. At a caucus held afterwards it was decided to postpone consideration of it till the 15th of May, which was adopted next day in the House.

22 April 1878 • Monday

Monday April 22

Considerable excitement was raised to-day over the passage of the river and harbor bill under a suspension of the rules. The bill contains appropriations for over $7,000.000. Mr. Cox of New York endeavored to have a protest signed by himself and some 30 other members put on record in opposition to the bill. It was decided not to be a question of privilege and he had not the right to put the protest on record.

24 April 1878 • Wednesday

Wednesday, 24

The bill providing for the funding of 25 per cent of the earnings of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads was taken up and passed by the House.

25 April 1878 • Thursday

The House was occupied in the discussion of the bankrupt law which was decided <repealed> by a very large vote of the House.

26 April 1878 • Friday

The House engaged in the discussion of the Post Office Appropriation bill, which passed.

27 April 1878 • Saturday

Passed the Indian appropriation bill and commenced on the legislative, executive and judicial appropriation bill.

Work has been pushed forward at a lively rate this week and members think an adjournment quite probable by the 10th of June.

I made Mr. Randall the Speaker a present of a pair of moss agate sleeve buttons which he seemed to appreciate very much

28 April 1878 • Sunday

Elizabeth, Mary Alice, David baby and myself called upon Mr and Mrs Peck on R St and spent two or three hours there. Mrs. Peck is a daughter of a man named [blank] who with his wife were once Latter-day Saints but went off with Strang and lived some six years with him on Beaver Island. They still cling to the principles of Mormonism, but I do not know that they have recognized the right of Prest. Young or the Twelve to lead the Church. Mr. Peck is very much interested in our principles. He is a banknote printer and is employed in the Treasury Department.

29 April 1878 • Monday

The House was in Committee of the whole on the legislative, executive and judicial appropriation bill, with which rapid progress was made. An evening session was appointed, but there was not a quorum present and the usual farcical proceedings occurred. An adjournment was reached after 11 o’clock.

30 April 1878 • Tuesday

The house met at 11 to-day, that being the hour agreed upon for the remainder of the session, and proceeded with the unfinished business. The Committee on Appropriations determined to reduce the legislatures of the Territories to 9 Councilors and 18 assemblymen. for each Territory. Of course this was done they said in the interest of economy and they further proposed to reduce the per diem of these members from $6.00 to $4.00. Five minutes was the time allowed for speeches[.] I spoke five minutes and through the kindness of Mr. Pond of Wis. got five minutes more. I proposed, that if economy were the object sought, the per diem be still further reduced to $3.00 leaving the number of members as it now is and has been in Utah for 28 years. If this were done the only difference between my plan and that of the Committee would be $1680 every two years for the whole 8 territories which would be nothing compared with the great labor of re districting proposed by the Com. Even if Congress was too poor to pay this extra $1680 I tho’t my Territory would much prefer to pay its share of it than to go to work redistricting. I think my view would have prevailed but a political discussion arose and the Democrats of course were forced to stand by the Committee

Attended a reception at Mr. Fernando Woods in the evening. It was a very agreeable party. I ate very little, but suffered all night from it, and was only relieved by vomiting.

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April 1878, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 25, 2024