The Church Historian's Press

February 1885

1 February 1885 • Sunday1

Sunday, Feb. 1/85. I passed early into the house of Sister Lizzie F. Young, wife of Bro Brigham. I laid down until 9.30 A.M. when Bro. Charles H. Wilcken came in. Sister Young brought my breakfast at the same time and I ate it, while talking to Bro. Wilcken in bed. He informed me of Pres. Taylor’s intention to attend meeting in the Tabernacle and to go to Bro. Samuel Bennion’s on the Jordan in the evening. He thought I had better not go to meeting. Bro. Geo. Reynolds also called and my brother David, who had just returned <arrived> from St. George. He looked very well, but felt sad at the death of his son, Geo. Q. This is the birthday of Ka’u wahine hou [my newest wife], and we dined together at Sister Young’s, and had a very delightful time. We parted with regret as she felt very anxious about my safety. At 7.30 p.m. my son John Q. brought my buggy to the Office and we started, following Pres. Taylor’s carriage, which was driven by Bro. C. H. Wilcken and contained, besides Pres. T. Bro’s. L. J. Nuttall and C. H. Barrel. It was dark till we reached Bro. Bennion’s house — 8 miles from the City — then the moon rose at about 9.30. The team and carriage which brought Pres. T. remained here, and Bro. Wilcken and John Q. returned together to the city. The family were not prepared for us and a bed was made on the floor for Bro. Nuttall and myself. Pres. Taylor is suffering from bowel complaint.

2 February 1885 • Monday

Monday, Feb. 2/86[85]. A beautiful morning. Pres. T’s health is better. Dictated a letter to the four presidents of Stakes in Arizona, urging upon them the organization of a Committee of one man from each Stake, energetic, zealous, wise men, one of them to be chosen as chairman who will devote his whole time, if necessary, to look after the political and legal rights of the people. It was also suggested that two men should go to Prescott while the legislature is in session and labor with Members to enlighten them, so that hostile legislation may be averted. Bishop D. K. Udall is suggested as one that would be suitable, and it is proposed that Judge Warren N. Dusenberry be sent, and that these brethren give their time and that funds be raised to pay their expenses. The remainder of the day was spent in reading and conversation. Bro. Wilcken came out in the evening and brought our letters and papers. It was decided this evening that I should go in town to-morrow evening and see Judge Dusenberry who had been telegraphed for, and attend to other business.

3 February 1885 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Feb. 3/85. I wrote to Wahine hope loa [my last wife] that I would be at her house this evening. Had a long conversation with President Taylor upon the subject of revelation which he had received about his anointing with oil as a ruler over the kingdom of God here on earth.2 Extracts were read from the records of the Council respecting the action of the Council in the cases of the Prophets Joseph and Brigham. They were received by the Council of the kingdom as prophet, and seer, and revelator and king.3 President Taylor was commanded by the Lord to do this thing,4 but he had neglected to attend to it and had been condemned for his negligence. He asked me my feelings upon the subject, and I told him I was in full accord with him. In fact I had proposed it myself soon after Presidents Young’s death, to the Council. I thought the business should be attended to as soon as convenient. He told me he wanted me to be mouth, with such of the twelve apostles as were here to lay on hands with me—and I to anoint and ordain him.5 I said to him that if he would prefer any other one of the brethren to do this instead of me I hoped he would choose him, as it would be all right with me. I desired him to have whom he would like and I would have no feeling against it. He replied that he desired me to officiate, for to me the right belonged. He had written a form of the words to be used in the ceremony, a copy of which I took. At 6.45 p.m. Bro. Wilcken took me in my buggy to town, he having driven from the City to bring our mail. I met Bro. Erastus Snow and arranged with him for a meeting of the Twelve in the Endowment House at 8 o’clock to-morrow evening. Saw Judge Dusenberry. He could not go to Arizona to help defeat hostile legislation because of other engagements. Attended to other business with Bro. Geo. Reynolds, James Jack, my son John Q. and others. My brother David met me also. He returns in the morning to his home. My brother Angus was in trouble this evening. His case was before the Grand Jury and a man named Smith had given damaging testimony against him on the charge of polygamy which Angus said was false. He wanted, some one to go to the head of Provo river and see some parties there at whose house it was stated himself and alleged wife had slept. He had tried to get one and another to go, but finally had to get my son John Q. The trip is a very hard one, the snow deep and a part of the distance too soft to bear up a horse and it is especially trying for John Q. as he has not rode on horseback for five years.

4 February 1885 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Feb. 4/85. Bro. Wilcken and myself left the city at about 5.30 this morning. It has been thawing and the roads are very muddy. I think of and pray for John Q. that he may not be injured by the trip. Wrote a letter to each of my wives. At about 7.30 p.m. President Taylor and myself, accompanied by Bro’s. L. John Nuttall, C. H. Wilcken and C. H. Barrel drove to the city. Bro. Wilcken drove President T’s carriage and I drove my buggy in which I had Bro. Nuttall as a companion. In passing a smelter at Francklyn there was some slag being roasted and the smoke was very dense and blew across the road. It was so thick that neither the horses nor ourselves could see the road and we lost our way, and besides being nearly suffocated with the sulpherous and (it seemed to us arsenical) fumes, we had a narrow escape from being upset in a ditch. While stopping to find the road we were nearly overpowered by the fumes and suffocated to death. We repaired to the Endowment House. We found three <Seven> of the Twelve Apostles—Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, F. D. Richards, Albert Carrington, F. M. Lyman, H. J. Grant and John W. Taylor and Elders Geo. Reynolds and L. John Nuttall. President Taylor explained the object of the meeting and the revelation he had received and the action of the Council [of fifty],6 as reported in the minutes in the cases of Presidents Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were read. He then invited the brethren to make remarks if they felt to do so. The most of the brethren expressed themselves, and all voted in favor of receiving the revelation as the word and will of the Lord and of carrying out the instructions given. We then clothed and had prayer. After which we consecrated a bottle of oil. President Taylor had announced to the brethren that he wished me to be mouth. [He sat between us and I anointed him with the oil; and once this was done I requested the brethren of the Twelve unitedly to place their hands with me on top of his head. I pronounced the following like this:]7 (Here insert form) [A separate half sheet is tipped in at this point.]

[140 words redacted relating to wording of blessing]. When we had finished it was past 11 o’clock. President Taylor and Bro’s. Wilcken, Nuttall and Barrel drove back to “Safe Retreat.” I stayed and had interview with Bro’s. John R. Winder and Marshal Phillips. My horse was lame and I desired to get another team, so I stayed all night at house of wahine hou.

5 February 1885 • Thursday

Thursday, Feb 5/85. I rejoiced in that which we had done. It is a great pleasure to do the will of God. When I rejoined President Taylor this morning, which I did very early, I found him full of joy and satisfaction, and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him. We had conversation respecting political affairs and I told him my feelings. He said he wished I would communicate them to Bro. Caine and Bro. Brigham Young at Washington. I dictated two letters to them, Bro. L. John Nuttall writing them as I dictated. President Taylor and myself conversed about the subscription of the various Stakes to the purchase of the place of refuge in Mexico. He desired me to go to the City and see Bro. Jas. Jack and explain to him our wishes upon the money matter. Bro. Wilcken took me up to my son John Q’s where I met Bro. Jack and also Bro. T. B. Lewis. I wished to see the latter about going to Prescott, Arizona, to work with legislators to prevent, if possible, hostile legislation. But I found his position to be such that he could not go. John Q. is going in the morning to see Bro. M. Thatcher and to arrange for a meeting with Bro. F. D. Richards so that he can get the purchase money for the Place of Refuge. I stopped at John Q’s for the remainder of the night.

6 February 1885 • Friday

Friday, Feb. 6/85 Brother Wilcken called for me at 5.30 this morning. We found all well at Safe Retreat. We (Pres. Taylor and self) dictated a letter which Bro. Nuttall wrote, to the Committee—M. Thatcher, A. F. Macdonald, C. Layton, Lot Smith and Jesse N. Smith—appointed to select and purchase a place of Refuge in the Republic of Mexico, giving them instructions concerning the business. Bro. Samuel Sudbury brought down some letters, at which we were not very well pleased as we had sent Wilford Bennion, a son of Bishop Bennion’s, where we are stopping, for the mail and we did not want any more than absolutely necessary to know where we are, though we had confidence in Bro. Sudbury. Bro. C. H. Wilcken and I drove to town for the purpose of my arranging about the forwarding of the money to Bro. Thatcher and the Committee for the purchase of the place of refuge. Bro’s. Jack and Reynolds met me, also my son Abraham. I slept at the house of wahine hope loa [my last wife].

7 February 1885 • Saturday

Saturday, Feb. 7/85. Snowed heavily in the night and still snowing. I overslept myself about half an hour this morning, so instead of starting at half past five we did not get away till after six o’clock. I met my brother Angus this morning and was pleased to learn that though the Grand Jury and District Attorney, the latter particularly, had tried hard to get evidence to indict him for polygamy, they had only brought an indictment for unlawful cohabitation. The roads were rather heavy this morning, but we made good time. Read with President Taylor his discourse of last Sunday. Sent letters and messages by Bishop Bennion and son to the City, where they went to attend Priesthood meeting. They brought back a letter from Bro. F. S. Richards, who has just returned from Washington, in which he asks for an interview with Pres. Taylor and myself[.] It was decided for me and Bro. Wilcken to go to the City and <for me to> see him, as President Taylor did not wish to go. We found the roads very bad. Bro. Richards reported affairs at Washington and asked respecting the employment of ex-Attorney-General McVeagh to conduct the case of Rudger Clawson on appeal before the U. S. Supreme Court and also the employment of some competent person to go from here to Arizona to conduct the cases on appeal to the Supreme Court there—it being the wish of Bro’s. Tenney, Christoffersen and Kempe, upon whom he had called at the House of Correction at Detroit, that some one should be sent there for the 23rd inst., the date when their cases would come up. My sons John Q. and Abraham and Marshal Phillips met me. The former had just returned from Logan where he had been to arrange for Bro. M. Thatcher to be met at Ogden by Bro. F. D. Richards to get letters and drafts concerning Place of Refuge. Bro. M. Thatcher wrote to me, asking me to use my influence with President Taylor to have my son John Q. accompany him as a companion and one of the Company to purchase the Place of Refuge. He also sent a letter, he said, to President Taylor on the same subject.

8 February 1885 • Sunday

Sunday, Feb. 8/85. Snowing this morning again. Left town early. Roads very heavy. I forget to mention that Bro. Geo. Teasdale was indicted yesterday for polygamy and unlawful cohabitation and Mr. Dickson, U. S. District Attorney, had sent or was about to send to St. George to arrest him. When I learned this I sent for Bro. Geo. Reynolds and told him to use every means to get a message to him by telegraph warning him of the design. A dull, wintry day; snowed at intervals. Spent the day resting and in conversation.

9 February 1885 • Monday

Monday, Feb. 9/85. Answered letter from my wife Sarah Jane which I received on Saturday. Again revised with President Taylor, his discourse of the first inst., for the press. Wrote letter to Pres. Franklin Spencer of Sevier Stake and addressed it to Pima, Graham Co., Arizona.

A false alarm was brought from the City by Bro. Samuel Sudbury, who was sent by Bro. Geo. Reynolds, to the effect that our place of retreat is known. We (Bro. C. H. Wilcken and myself) found when we went to the City that the report was without any foundation. Pres. Taylor and daughter Leonora was sought for to-day by the deputy marshals as witnesses before the Grand Jury and it is reported that it is in the case of Bro. Joseph F. Smith. We are told that the Jury has obtained evidence enough to sustain charge of unlawful cohabitation. I was pleased to learn that Bro. J. F Smith had sailed for the Sandwich Islands. It stormed heavily in the shape of snow upon us as we went to town and through the night.

10 February 1885 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Feb. 10/85. Snowing this morning. Left town early; but found Pres. Taylor and Bro’s. Nuttall and Barrell had left Bishop Bennion’s and gone to the residence of his late brother John. I took some pains with the Bishop’s help to get over there without being seen. Bro. Wilcken drove around searching for a new place to which we could go in case we desired to change. Sister John Bennion and family entertained us hospitably. The Bishop (Samuel Bennion) and family had made us very welcome and we enjoyed ourselves very much at their house while there.

11 February 1885 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Feb. 11/85. Wrote letters to my wives— Eliza, Martha and Emily and to my children. Went to the City in evening with Bro. C. H. Wilcken. Sent for Bro. Thos E. Taylor to converse with him respecting the publication of the Book of Mormon in Spanish. We had arranged for Bro. J. Z. Stewart to be sent for to Logan and he and Bro’s. August Wilcken and Asa to read the proof and President Taylor desired me to supervise the work and decide upon points or questions which may arise. Saw Bro. Geo. Reynolds and Bro. F. D. Richards. Bro. F. S. Richards had an interview with me on legal matters.

12 February 1885 • Thursday

Thursday, Feb. 12/85. Snowing heavily this morning. The snow fell to a considerable depth through the night. We drove down early this morning. We learned that Bro. Joseph F. Smith had been indicted for unlawful cohabitation and Bro. Anson V. Call for that and polygamy. Busy writing Editorial Thoughts for Juvenile Instructor. Bro. Wilcken and myself went to the City this evening. Saw a number of brethren, among others Bro. F. S. Richards, respecting his going to Arizona to be at the session of the Supreme Court of the Territory on the 23rd inst. to look after the cases of Bro’s. Tenney, Kempe and Christofferson on appeal from the District Court. After going over the business on hand it was concluded better for him to stay and attend to affairs here. I stopped at my son John Q’s for the night.

13 February 1885 • Friday

Friday, Feb. 13/85. We drove out this morning. Rather colder than usual. Found all well. Spent the day mostly in reading Hughes’ Life of Alfred the Great. Bishop S. Bennion brought out our letters. I found by letter from Bro. T. E. Taylor that I was desired to answer some questions respecting the Book of Mormon in Spanish. It was decided that I should go into town and stay there to-morrow to attend to that and other business. A letter from Elders C. W. Nibley and Fred. Turner giving me a report of their labors on the mission I had appointed them to Boise was read. It was very gratifying to hear this report. President Taylor said he would sign a letter with me, acknowledging their report and commending their labors. Bro. Wilcken and I went into the City and I stopped at John Q’s.

14 February 1885 • Saturday

Saturday, Feb. 14/85. Walked in disguise from John Q’s residence to the Office. I passed a number of people who are acquainted with me who did not recognize me. Very busy all day conversing with and counseling with <various> brethren. A call for help from the St. John’s Ward was given me by Pres. Taylor to look after. The amount asked for is $2,36250/100[.] The Trustee-in-Trust subscribes $1,000 towards this, the remainder to be divided among the Stakes. I wrote a circular, and signed it on behalf of the First Presidency, addressed to the Presidents of Stakes, asking them to raise means to help those who had been sent from their Stakes to St. John and informing each the amount needed from his Stake. I had two interviews with Bro. J. Z. Stewart about the Spanish Book of Mormon and gave him suggestions concerning the same. Wrote a number of letters. At 6 p.m. my son John Q. drove me in my buggy to Bountiful where I spent the night at the house of Bro. Lamoni Holbrook’s, where my wife Emily is staying. Mother Watterson, the mother of Sister Holbrook, is here for the winter. I introduced my son, John Q. to her as one who knew his great-grand fathers and great grandmothers and his grandparents and other kindred on my side. Bro. Anson and Chester Call spent the evening with me.

15 February 1885 • Sunday

Sunday, Feb. 15/85. At 3 o’clock this morning we were stirring. We reached the City at 5.30. I found Bro. Wilcken here. He drove me to Bro. Charles Bagley’s on Cottonwood where Pres. Taylor had moved last evening. The roads from Bountiful to this place are very bad and I was jolted considerably. Spent the day in conversation and reading.

16 February 1885 • Monday

Monday, Feb 16/85. Wrote to my wives Sarah Jane and Martha in reply to letters from them. In conversation to-day respecting political matters it was decided to send Bro’s S. W. Sears and S. H. Hill to Prescott to labor with the legislature against hostile legislation. (They did not go, I found afterwards) President Taylor spoke to me about my going East to see prominent Democrats and President-elect Cleveland concerning us and our affairs and position. If I felt to go he thought I could do good. I said that as he was alone (Bro. Joseph F. Smith being away) I thought I ought to stay with him. While I had felt exercised about the situation of affairs and had thought that we ought to be exerting ourselves to influence the incoming administration, I had no desire to go East myself. If, however, he thought I had better go I was, as I had always been, ready to go wherever sent. He said I had better think about it awhile. This was at 1 p.m. I replied that I was ready to go in the morning by the first train if he said so, for if I was going there was no time to be lost. This seemed to suit him and I told Bro. Wilcken after we had dinner at 2 p.m. to be ready to go to town at 3 p.m. I went in disguise. Attended to various matters of business after reaching the City. About 7 p.m. John Q. took me in a carriage to my home on the river Jordan. The children gathered together and I gave them instruction and prayed with them. My heart is very tender respecting my children, who are left by the persecution of our enemies without the presence or care of either Father or Mother. I implore the blessing of the Lord upon them to make up for our absence. I packed my portmanteau and my son John Q. took me by back to the City by a little after ten o’clock. Met with Bro. Franklin S. Richards and conversed upon legal matters. I had conversation with Sister Lizzie F. Young and Wahine hope loa at the house of the latter respecting their going on a visit to the States. Sister Young proposed to do so and return with her husband, Bro. Brigham. I told her what I would do towards the expense for the advantage it would be to wahine hou [my new wife] to have her company.

17 February 1885 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Feb. 17/85. Conversed with Bro. Will Spence concerning passes for the two ladies, but found it would be difficult to get them. Wrote to them to that effect, but arranged for half fare tickets if they decided to make the trip.

My son John Q. took me down to the train in a carriage. Bro. John Sharp called at the office for my baggage and put it on his private car. The train drew out of the Station and stopped at a convenient point for me to get on which I did under cover of my umbrella, as it was sprinkling rain at the time. Esconsed in his car with Bro. John Sharp and Bro. Franklin D. Richards I rode safely and without observation. Bro. Sharp had his car drawn up alongside of the sleeping car on which my berth was secured and I stepped from one to the other. My son Frank spent a few minutes with me; but I did not have time to see my wife Sarah Jane, his mother, who is here in Ogden.

18 February 1885 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Feb. 18/85. Detained to-day upwards of twelve hours by wrecked trains and snow. Ate breakfast at Carbon and dinner at Medicine Bow, about 8 miles apart. Wrote letters to my wives, Sarah Jane, Eliza, Martha and Emily, to John Q. and Abraham, and to Bro. Musser about some Mss. sent to me to criticize which I had left in his hands. I also corrected a discourse of mine for the press and sent it by mail to Brother Reynolds. Two German Jews—Rosendahl and Davis of San Francisco insisted on my eating supper with them. They opened a bottle of champagne but I do not drink wine.

19 February 1885 • Thursday

Thursday, Feb. 19/85 A fine morning but cold. Making good progress. Reached Omaha at about 7 p.m. Very cold. No telegram about Wahine hou [my new wife] starting. Put up at Paxton House. determined to see if she and Sister Young should come on morning train, as by so doing I would lose no time, as I had to be in Chicago during business hours. My room is made comfortable, it being very cold—by a good hot fire.

20 February 1885 • Friday

Friday, Feb. 20/85. One says thermometor 10 deg. below zero, another says it is 14 below. Cold enough for me in either case. Examined incoming train, but found no one whom I expected. Crossed river and took Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific R.R. for Chicago. Ate dinner and supper in Dining Car. A newly-married couple in the opposite berth furnished some amusement by their billing and cooing and love making. They were very effusive and somewhat ridiculous. The voice of the bride sets my nerves all a quiver, nearly as bad as the filing of a saw or the croaking of a frog, and she evidently thinks it sweet, she is so fond of using it! What must be the condition of a man who must listen to that voice, morning, noon and night through future life? If he had more than one wife an occasional respite might make it endurable. I admire large women; but she is too much to admire, being elephantine and coarse, besides her self-admiration would displease some men. I would like to see this couple a few years hence; it would be interesting to note the changes of manner and address which that length of time will produce. She may, however, have qualities which will wear and that will make her an excellent wife. Wrote letter to Wahine hope loa [my last wife].

21 February 1885 • Saturday

Saturday, Feb. 21/85. We were late in reaching Chicago. I put up at the Grand Pacific Hotel, and to avoid attracting attention and being interviewed, I arranged with the clerks not to register. But it was in vain. I am too well known. No less than four newspaper men came to me and tried to get me to talk. I had an interview with Mr. Adams, Ass’t. Passenger Agent of the Pennsylvania and Fort Wayne R.R. and obtained Pass to Pittsburg and return. He had written for a Pass from Pittsburg to Washington for me, but it had not reached him. I concluded not to wait for it. At 11.50 p.m. I took the train for Washington.

22 February 1885 • Sunday

Sunday, Feb. 22/85. Changed at Pittsburg.

23 February 1885 • Monday

Monday, Feb. 23/85. Reached Washington at about 10 o’clock. Was met at the Station by Bro. John T. Caine. In the evening took a room at Welcker’s. After changing my linen went to the Capitol. Had conversation with the Speaker (Mr. Carlisle) and a number of members. In the evening called upon Mr. Gibson at his residence and spent the evening with him.

24 February 1885 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Feb. 24/85. Wrote to President Taylor. Had a very satisfactory interview with ex-Senator Barnum. After describing the conduct of affairs at home he urged me to stop till after the inauguration and have an interview with President Cleveland. He would be pleased to introduce me and would come, he said, from Connecticut—his home—if necessary to do so. I had conversation with a number of Members to-day. In the evening at 10.20 met Bro. Brigham Young at the the R.R. station. He had come from New York to see me. Bro. Penrose sailed for England to-day before Bro. Brigham left. Bro. Richard W. Young, who is a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army, has been here since I arrived.

25 February 1885 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Feb. 25/85. At the Capitol. Had conversations with Mr. Randall, Mr. Holman and other Members. In the evening I spent an hour or two with Senator Vest and went over <with him> the whole ground of our troubles. He feels hopeful about the Cabinet and the new Administration dealing more fairly with us. Wrote to President Taylor. Received a letter from Wahine hope loa [my last wife], which I was delighted to receive. In talking with Bro. Brigham Young this evening it was decided (it being his feeling) that he should return home.

26 February 1885 • Thursday

Thursday, Feb. 26/85. Settled our bills at Welcker’s and Bro. Brigham started for New York. I wrote a long letter to President Taylor and another to Bro. F. S. Richards in reply to his upon the subject of the fee of Senator Vest. Wrote letter to wahine hope loa [my last wife].

27 February–3 March 1885 • Friday to Wednesday

Friday, Feb. 27 to Mar. 3/85 Variously engaged. Wrote <two> editorial thoughts & one Topics for Juvenile Instructor, also long letters to President Taylor on Monday, the 2nd inst.

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February 1885, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 21, 2024