December 1886

1 December 1886 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Dec 1/86 Listened to the reading of letters and dictated answers to them. Bro. Clawson reports the output of the B. B. & C. M. C.s mine as quite encouraging, but the offer to purchase it had fallen through, as the parties who had made the proposal could not make the necessary arrangements upon which they calculated.

2 December 1886 • Thursday

Thursday, Dec 2/86 Bro. Wilcken had gone to town and Bros. John W. Woolley and Alf Solomon came out and spent the day with us. We had a very interesting fast-meeting, which all enjoyed. Attended to correspondence as usual. Bros Solomon and Bateman shot four geese to day. I commenced a Christmas story for the Juvenile Instructor to day, based on occurrences described in the Book of Mormon. We received a letter from Bro. Joseph F. Smith this morning. His health was good. He intends sending his wife home, though he should miss her very much, she having been quite a confort to him.

3 December 1886 • Friday

Friday, Dec 3/86 My brother Angus came here from the city with Bro. Wilcken and spent the day with us. In company with President Taylor I listened to the reading of letters and afterwards dictated answers to them. My son Abraham wrote to me that it is reported that John Q is indicted by the Grand Jury. I finished my Christmas story and read it to the President and the brethren. President Taylor expressed his pleasure at hearing it. He and Bro. Wilcken and Barrell drove to Bro. John S. Smith’s and spent the evening.

4 December 1886 • Saturday

Saturday, Dec 4/86 Listened to and dictated answers to correspondence. Also dictated matters for the Juvenile Instructor to Bro. Wilcken. Arrangements were made for Bro. Clawson to come out this evening in response to his request.

5 December 1886 • Sunday

Sunday, Dec 5/86 Bro. Clawson spent the day with us and gave information concerning the property he has in charge. Prospects are very encouraging, the mineral being quite rich. We held our meeting as usual and administered the Sacrament; Bro. Clawson in charge. Bro. John W. Young telegraphed from the east for charges against Dickson, Prosecuting Attorney. If they were forwarded he thought he could be removed. Bro. Clawson was instructed to take steps with Bros Penrose and Nicholson about getting these up. He was also entrusted with an order for one thousand dollars to be used to secure the influence of a prominent member against the proposed legislation of Congress. He went into the City from Farmington by train.

6 December 1886 • Monday

Monday, Dec 6/86. Attended to correspondence as usual. Bro. L. J. Nuttall is suffering from a severe cold.

7 December 1886 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Dec 7/86 Bro. Nuttall was so sick to day that he could do nothing. I attended to our correspondence. We were pleased to learn to day that President Cleveland had omitted all reference to Utah in his annual message.

8 December 1886 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Dec 8/86 Attended to correspondence as usual. Bro. Nuttall’s health is slightly improved. A letter was received from Bro. Clawson respecting the business entrusted to him, and President Taylor thought I had better go in and see about it, as there appears to be danger, we think, of there being a job put upon us by a man professing to have influence with a leading member of Congress and getting money on the pretense of paying it to him for his influence. I have known such things done in Washington and we feel that we cannot be too careful. I accompanied Bro. Bateman, who carried the mail to the City. He took me to my wife Carlie’s, who is living in some rooms of Sister L. G. Hardy’s. We were much pleased to meet, as we had not been together for months, and the last time we had an interview of only a few minutes, and I was very sick. Our baby Hiram Clawson, I had not seen for a number of months; he has grown considerably, and I think he is a beautiful child. It is very pleasant to have an opportunity to meet each other after so long a separation.

9 December 1886 • Thursday

Thursday, Dec 9/86 Bro. Lehi Pratt, who lives next door, called me at half past four oClock and took me to the President’s Office, where I intend to stay the day. I found Bro. Brigham Young there, I having appointed a meeting with him. Bro. Geo. Reynolds afterward came in and Bro’s F. S. Richards, H B. Clawson, James Jack, my son Abraham and F. D. Richards, and altogether I had a very busy day. We had a scare in the middle of the day, which furnished some amusement after it was over. We were in the midst of conversation, Bro. F. D. Richards just came in and was extending his hand to shake hands with me, when Bro. Geo. F. Gibbs came rushing in, his face as white as a sheet, and informed us that several Deputies were at the Gardo House opposite, and, as he supposed, were searching that building. The first thought that flashed across me was that they had got clue to my being in town and perhaps were searching for me. Bros. F. D. Richard[s] and Abraham disappeared suddenly, I do not know how nor where, for I was too busy thinking about a hiding place. Bros. Brigham Young and Geo. Reynolds went up stairs to a place which had been provided, and after Abraham helped me on with my overcoat I seized my shawl, hat and pistol, and requested Bros. Jack and Gibbs to show me a place they said they had where a man could hide. They led me to it, and I jumped in to see whether there was room enough, and got out again to await further developements. Pretty soon the word came that the Deputies had driven off, at which we were all greatly relieved. Drove out in the evening to our place of refuge where we arrived about eleven oClock. I will mention here that for fifteen carloads of ore which Bro. Clawson sold to day he received a check of $19,14100/.

10 December 1886 • Friday

Friday, Dec 10/86 The anniversary of my marriage with my wife Elizabeth. Attended to correspondence as usual. I omitted to mention yesterday that the Deputies which were at the Gardo House called there to serve a paper upon President Taylor, as Trustee in Trust, on some business connected with the Stringham estate. We received a number of letters from Bro. Beck, part of which were insulting and threatening. He is angry because we will not give him another lease, and speaks as though we were inflicting a great injury upon him and even robbing him. In one of his letters he claims that we owe him $200,00000/ for extra work which he had done. We are informed that he feels very angry because we do not answer his letters. While we have any idea of self respect we cannot answer such letters as he has written; but as he threatenes us with the law, it was thought better for Bro. Nuttall, as President of the Company, to go in and see him. While Bro. John Beck was only been extravagant in the use of means and unwise in his operations, I still had some sympathy for him and felt to bear with his methods, though I heartily disapproved of them. From the beginning of my acquaintance with him, I saw that he was an unsafe business man, and one with whom I should prefer to have no business connection, because he is so utterly reckless about incurring debts and in the use of means. But the tone which he has assumed of late and the manner in which he treats us, disgusts me, for he talks and acts dishonestly; and unless he changes his course he will grieve the Spirit of the Lord and lose his standing in the church. I cannot recall a single instance where we have failed to keep our word with him in all our business arrangements; and on the other hand, I cannot recall a single instance, out of the many agreements and promises which he has made, where he has kept his word with us.

11 December 1886 • Saturday

Saturday, Dec 11/86 Attended to correspondence, and in the absence of Bro. Nuttall, I wrote the answers. Bro. Lorin Woolley is here to stay in the absence of Bro. Wilcken.

12 December 1886 • Sunday

Sunday, Dec 12/86 A dispatch had been received from Bro. John W. Young, which was sent to Bro. Nuttall to discipher as he had the keyword. Bro. Lorin Woolley went in and returned by rail. President Taylor and myself examined the mail and I wrote answers to the letters. Bro. Nuttall returned this evening, accompanied by Bro. S. Bateman. Bro. L. Woolley returned home.

14 December 1886 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Dec 14/86 Listened to correspondence and dictated answers to letters received.

15 December 1886 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Dec 15/86 The same as yesterday. I received a letter from C. Williams, (Bro. Penrose) stating that Bro. Budge was down from Idaho and was very desirous to have an interview upon matters that could not be written. A dispatch having been received from Bro. John W. Young, suggesting that the business with the member of Congress, spoken of by me a few days ago, could be done much better at that end. President Taylor was desirous that I should see to that, so it was decided that I should go to the city this evening. There is a great deal of correspondence also that ought to be attended to, which has accumulated and I can dictate the answers in there to a shorthand reporter. We have remarkably fine winter weather during this month, with the exception of last Thursday evening as I returned from the city, when we had a slight fall of snow. Bro. Wilcken and myself went to the city and he took me to Cannon’s Home to spend the night. My sons John Q. and Angus took me to town this morning in the covered carriage before daylight. I stopped at the Presidents Office. I had interviews with Bros Penrose and Budge in relation to Idaho affairs. I dictated a large number of letters to Bro. A. Winter. Had interviews with my son Abraham and had several interviews with Bro. F. S. Richards upon legal and other matters. I was greatly pleased to meet my brother Angus who has emerged triumphantly from the plot which our enemies had laid to convict him of two cases of polygamy and two of unlawful cohabitation. This trial has been the talk of the town since his arrest. He was put under $10,00000/ bonds when arrested, and this was for one case of unlawful cohabitation. They afterwards served him with other warrants for polygamy, and they have racked <raked> the county for witnesses; thirty six in all, many of these were examined, but from them all the prosecution failed to get evidence enough even to permit McKay to hold him in custody or to bind him over. The Lord has been with him and has greatly blessed him and defeated his enemies and all the people appear to be thankful. He feels very grateful to the Lord for what He has done for him. Bro. Geo. Reynolds spent the day with me. In the evening Abraham brought my wife Carlie to the Office and she remained till about ten o clock which gave us a visit of about three hours, which we both enjoyed. Bro. Wilcken took me back to our quarters where we reached about three oClock. We called at Bro John W. Woolley’s on the way and exchanged carriages. The sad news reached us to day of the shooting of Bro. E. M. Dalton of Parowan by U. S. Deputy Marshal Wm Thompson, jur, of Beaver, an apostate. He shouted for Bro. Dalton, who was on horseback, to stop, and he had scarcely hailed him, when he fired, shooting him in the side. Bro. Dalton fell from his horse, <was> carried into a house and died forty five minutes afterwards. The excuse the <deputy> made for shooting was that Bro. Dalton had escaped from the Officers last spring and was attempting to run away again when he fired, thinking to fire over his head. This is the first blood which has been shed for the cause of plural marriage in this persecution. The victim was an estimable man, the husband of two wives, the father of seven children and was about thirty five years old. It is nothing but cold-blooded murder, as he was not under arrest, was not trying to escape, and even if he had been, his offence (a misdemeanor) was not of a character to justify the Officer in shooting.

17 December 1886 • Friday

Friday, Dec 17/86 Correspondence was attended to by me as usual. [inserted letter]


Decemb. 17 [blank]6

Elder Moses Thatcher,


Dear Brother:

We received your favor of Nov. 9th in due course, and, as you have doubtless seen, we published the notice which you sent concerning the synopsis of your discourse which has been circulated among the people. We have been prevented from answering your letter upon the points mentioned therein by the pressure of other business.

You say: “If in your view there is anything in these remarks erroneous, contrary to the spirit of inspiration and revelation in you; or if their utterance by me was premature and imprudent, please do me the kindness, at your earliest convenience to point the same out.” Having made this request, we feel it to be our duty to communicate to you some of our views concerning this discourse. Its effect has been to agitate the community to a considerable extent and to create much speculation. We have heard of instances where Elders in meetings have engaged in discussion, some maintaining the correctness of the views set forth and others differing from them; and an importance has been attached to this, because of it being printed and sent forth, that ordinary discourses have not received. We have viewed the discourse as imprudent, for the reason that views, such as these, before being promulgated by an Apostle, should be submitted to the First Presidency, and particularly to him who holds the keys, in accordance with the revelation contained in the seven first paragraphs of the 43rd section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. The propriety of following this course in such cases is illustrated by the remark which has been frequently made since the synopsis which we forwarded to you has been circulated, that “these teachings, having been given by an Apostle, must be true.” The people naturally, and very properly, attach great importance to the teachings upon all points of doctrine and prophecy which are uttered by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles, and hence the greatest possible care should be exercised, that nothing be put forth among them, by any of us, that we cannot all sustain. The quotations which you make are correct, but the conclusions which you draw from them are the matters in question. The text does not warrant the statement that because Joseph was blessed by his father with “the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses led them in days of old,” he must therefore lead the people of God forth from temporal bondage, either in the spirit or in the resurrected body; or that such mighty events as you describe would attend his ministration in this capacity among the Latter-day Saints and the world.

As to the statement which is recorded, under date of 14th Feby., 1835, on page 205 in the Millennial Star, to the effect that “even 56 years should wind up the scene,” we do not know what qualifications the Prophet Joseph may have made in that statement, the report having been taken down in long hand. We notice that you say, “within the time specified by the Prophet for the coming of the Lord and the winding up scene.” On page 416, Sec. 130, of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, the Prophet Joseph describes the words that were spoken to him by a voice, in reply to his enquiry concerning the time of the coming of the Son of Man. It seems from that communication that the Prophet himself was not clear as to what was meant by the words which were told to him—whether his coming referred to the beginning of the Millennium, or to some previous appearing, or whether he should die and thus see the face of the Son of Man. Now, it appears clear to us that if Joseph had been certain, on the 14th Feby., 1835, that 56 years would wind up the scene, and by that mean the coming of the Son of Man, he would not have expressed the doubts which he does concerning that great event as late as April 2, 1843, which is the date of his remarks that we last refer to. When he, with all his knowledge, and with the flood of revelation which he had received, and with the constant communication that he had with the heavenly worlds, expresses himself so doubtfully respecting the time of that great and glorious event—the coming of the Son of Man—it behooves every Elder in the Church to speak carefully upon that subject and not be too positive about dates and time.

A question might be asked in this connection, What is meant by the winding up scene? And, furthermore, What is meant by that passage which says: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father?”

With kindest regards, and praying the Lord to bless you in all your labors.

We are

Your Brethren,

John Taylor

Geo. Q. Cannon.

[end of inserted letter]

18 December 1886 • Saturday

Saturday, Dec 18/86 Listened to the reading of letters and dictated answers to them.

19 December 1886 • Sunday

Sunday, Dec 19/86. Held our meeting to day and partook of the Sacrament. I enjoyed the meeting very much. President Taylor this evening gave to the family and all of us a description of the scenes which took place in Carthage jail, connected with the martyrdom of the prophets Joseph and Hyrum. He also sang the Seer.

20 December 1886 • Monday

Monday, Dec 20/86 I have been suffering for some days from sciatica., and I am treated for it electrically by Bro Wilcken. It was painful for me to move myself in bed last night. I think the name Bro. Penrose gives it very correct—toothache in the hip. Attended to correspondence as usual.

21 December 1886 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Dec 21/86 Attended to our usual correspondence.

22 December 1886 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Dec 22/86 The same as yesterday. I have been taking Grafenberg pills yesterday and to day for sciatica and with good effect. I am led to conclude that the rheumatic trouble has its origin in the stomach.

23 December 1886 • Thursday

Thursday, Dec 23/86 Listened to and dictated answers to our usual correspondence. My brother Angus arrived from the city some time during the night. This is his first visit to us since his trial, and he described many things connected with his arrest and trial which were amusing and interesting. He brought some business belonging to the stake and the appointment of Bishops before President Taylor and myself.

24 December 1886 • Friday

Friday, Dec 24/86. Our usual correspondence was attended to. In the evening my brother Angus and myself went to the city. It was a very dark night and it was with difficulty we could keep the road. We reached the Tithing Office about eight forty five, where Bro. Wilcken was waiting, and he drove me to my home on the river. I found all well.

25 December 1886 • Saturday

Saturday, Dec 25/86 I had a very pleasant day with my family. My son Abraham called to see me, also Bro. H. B. Clawson. I made a present to each of the children, except the four youngest, of a bible. The older ones received valuable editions, the five boys having bibles given them which I thought would answer their purpose as missionaries, should they ever go out preaching. I had very serious talk with my older sons, enquiring into their secret lives and habits; to my son William, especially, I talked with very great plainness. I slept in my secret place of concealment.

26 December 1886 • Sunday

Sunday, Dec 26/86. Bro. Joshua Stewart is in the habit of holding Sunday School with my children every other Sunday, and I listened to him with great pleasure to day. I afterward spoke to the children and tried to impress upon them the value of such instructions as he gave them. I held meeting with my family in the afternoon and my son Angus, who is a priest, administered the Sacrament. Bro. D. R. Bateman called for me about six oClock and I journeyed with him to Bro. John Woolley’s, where I found Bros Wilcken and Nuttall waiting for me. The latter had come here last night to meet his wife with whom he spent the day. Riding to our place of refuge we found the most of the way very rough and we were considerably jolted up.

27 December 1886 • Monday

Monday, Dec 27/86 Attended to correspondence as usual. The weather to day is more like April than December.

28 December 1886 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Dec 28/86 Attended to correspondence as usual.

29 December 1886 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Dec 29/86 Attended to correspondence as usual. Bro. H. B. Clawson came up to Farmington by train and was brought by carriage to our place. His purpose was to converse about the B. B. & C. M. C. property and prepare for the pending lawsuit.

30 December 1886 • Thursday

Thursday, Dec 30/86 Attended to correspondence as usual. It was decided that I should go in town this evening for the purpose of having interviews with Bro. L. W. Shurtliff, President of Weber Stake, and Bro. L. Farr. There is great danger, if there is not perfect harmony among our people, of our enemies getting possession of the Offices in Ogden City at the ensuing election; and it is to endeavor to effect complete harmony that I am to see these parties. Bro. H. B. Clawson met me at the Tithing Office yard upon my arrival and took me by a secret way to his house, to which place he had brought my wife Carlie. It was arranged for Bro. Wilcken to call for her at four oClock in the morning and take her to her home. I enjoyed a very agreeable visit with her.

31 December 1886 • Friday

Friday, Dec 31/86 I did not sleep much being on the watch for Bro. Wilcken. About twenty minutes past three I heard loud talking in the street in front of Sister Emily Clawson’s house. We got up to learn what the noise was about. Carlie went into her sister’s bedroom, from the window of which she thought she could see. I discovered a man walking around the house. Carlie and her sister were very much excited, especially the latter, and when I bid her good bye, she was trembling. I expressed my regret and she said she was only afraid on my account. Carlie succeeded in getting to the carriage, though a son of Bro. Caine (Joseph) had a room in the house, where he lodges, and he saw the carriage and her getting into it. He did not perhaps recognize her; he is an apostate. I passed out at Bro. Clawson’s secret passage and made my way to the President’s Office. I felt quite relieved to get away, for I thought there was danger of discovery. I had a long interview with Bros Shurtliff and Farr, at which Bro. Penrose was present, and I had considerable of the Spirit of the Lord. I implored them to do every thing in their power to keep down division in the midst of the people at the coming election. They promised me they would do all in their power to promote union. I dictated some matter for the Juvenile to Bro. A. Winter. I had visits from Bro. H. J. Grant and my son Abraham and others, and altogether had a busy day. My wife Carlie came at six oClock and remained with me till about nine, when my son David called and took her home. Upon his return I accompanied him to my home on the river. He had brought Mary Alice and Emily up to attend a charade party. After leaving me he returned to the city to bring them back.

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December 1886, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed February 25, 2024