The Church Historian's Press

May 1887

1 May 1887 • Sunday

Sunday, May 1/87. A snowy, stormy morning; very unlike May Day. I held Sunday School in the morning and had meeting in the afternoon, at which the Sacrament was administered, and I had much freedom and the Spirit of the Lord in speaking. Bro. C. H. Wilcken called for me in the evening about half past eight. We reached our quarters at 11:15.

2 May 1887 • Monday

Monday, May 2/87. A cool, but pleasant day. President Taylor’s health is better. Listened with him to the correspondence and I dictated answers. Bro. C. H. Wilcken left for the city to-day to assume the duties of Watermaster, the position to which he had been appointed by the City Council. Since his appointment I have felt that the duties would claim his attention so much that he would have but little time to spend with us; in fact, it seems as though it might be imprudent for him to come backward and forward, because they might put spies on his track, as it is well known that he has been our companion ever since we went out of sight. He has been very attentive to me; has waited upon me with unwearying attention; and I feel greatly obliged to him for his kindness. When I was sick, I felt greatly benefitted by his attentions. He has seemed to take pleasure in doing it and has expressed himself that it was a pleasure to him. I shall miss him on this account.

I wrote a letter to my son Frank to-day, cautioning him against the effect of prosperity. I understand he is editor of the Ogden Herald and I hear good reports about him, and I fear that there may be those who will flatter him, and I have fancied that there is a tendency in him to get careless, if he is prospered, and to not be so careful as he should be about his associates. I therefore felt it my duty to write to him upon this subject.

3 May 1887 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 3/87. Attended to correspondence as usual.

4 May 1887 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 4/87. Listened to, and dictated answers to, correspondence. Bro. J. W. Woolley has been with us since Bro. C. H. Wilcken left. He returned to his home this evening. We hear that Bro. Clawson has returned from California and he writes that he desires an interview. We arranged, by sending a letter to the City, to have him come out during the night.

5 May 1887 • Thursday

Thursday, May 5/87. This morning, when we arose, we found Bro. Clawson ready to report the results of his visit to California and explain the propositions which the new Company who now have the Bullion, Beck and Champion property in their name, have to make concerning the employment of legal firms and other business. We agreed with the views which were laid before us, and Bro. Clawson left for the city on the morning train. I dictated the particulars of his report to Bro. Nuttall, that we might have the details in full. President Taylor, when he arose this morning, felt much better than he had done, but was taken sick in the forenoon and he looked badly; but the change for the better took place in the afternoon. Dictated correspondence. Bro. James Malin came out from the City this evening, to take the place of Bro. Wilcken. He is one of the City Police and is said to be very trustworthy.

6 May 1887 • Friday

Friday, May 6/87. Attended to correspondence as usual. Bro. Nuttall left in the evening on a visit to his wife at Centreville.

7 May 1887 • Saturday

Saturday, May 7/87. I wrote the answers to the letters to-day, and in the evening went to the City with Bro. Bateman. My time is fully occupied. I generally rise these days about 6 o’clock, take a bath, and then walk until breakfast is ready. We then go through the correspondence and any other business that may be before us; after which President Taylor retires, either to play quoits or to rest, and I attend to the business and get it in shape, dictating to Bro. Nuttall, who takes down the answers to letters in longhand. After I get through with this, or sometimes before, I take another walk, and contrive to get about from 1½ to 2 hours walk every day. The rest of the time is spent in attending to private matters, or in reading, or in conversation with President Taylor. My time is fully occupied, and this makes the days pass pleasantly and very rapidly.

8 May 1887 • Sunday

Sunday, May 8/87. Had Sunday School with the children this morning. In the afternoon held our usual sacrament meeting and had a very pleasant time, as I always have in visiting my family. These visits are very precious to me, because of the peculiar position in which we are placed. I have, however, enjoyed my meetings with my family more since we have been compelled to withdraw from public gaze than I ever did before since I have had a family. They have heard more from me in the shape of instruction than ever before because when I was at liberty my time was occupied in public meetings, but for the last two years and five months I have held meetings with them and addressed them particularly I think that it has been the means of doing much good—at least I hope so—and I trust that the impressions made will never be forgotten. But with a large family such as I have there are many cares and perplexities. There is a great variety of disposition and requires constant watchfulness, especially with growing boys and girls such as I have, to keep them straight. With these perplexities, however, there is much joy. I would be very unhappy if I did not have a family and am very thankful to the Lord for the wives and children which he has given me. I would like, and it is one of the greatest desires of my life, to bring them up properly, so that they will be useful members of the Church and help roll forth the cause of Zion, and I desire greatly to be aided so that I may govern my family aright. Bro. Wilcken called for me in the evening and carried me to the President’s Office, where I slept. One of my folks—Carlie—joined me there.

9 May 1887 • Monday

Monday, May 9/87. I dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter, also articles for the Juvenile, and I was kept busy all day, conversing with brethren who called and attending to a meeting of the Directors of the Savings Bank. I signed three wills to-day which I made out respecting the disposal of property willed to me by my wives Sarah Jane, Eliza, and Martha. They will this property to me in the event of their demise, so that I may be able to control it for the benefit of myself and the children; and in order that it may not be mixed with my other property, I make a will respecting each of their bequests, bequeathing the bequests from each to the children of the mother who makes the will. I signed these wills in the presence of my brother Angus, Bro. James Jack and William C. Spence. I have been giving instructions through the Juvenile Instructor to the Saints on this subject, and I take the counsel to myself also. While we may live for many years – as I hope we will – still I think it prudent to do this. In the evening Bro. Wilcken came around with my wife Carlie in his buggy, and I drove with her about 10 miles; then she returned with him, and I kept on with Bro. Bateman to our quarters. We reached there at half past eleven.

10 May 1887 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 10/87. I attended to correspondence as usual.

11 May 1887 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 11/87. Attended to correspondence. President Taylor’s health, as I have before remarked, has been quite poor and he has suffered from shortness of breath and difficulty of breathing in the night, when asleep. He desired me, tonight, to anoint and administer to him and to call the other brethren to join. Bros. Nuttall, Bateman and Barrell and our host joined me in laying on hands.

12 May 1887 • Thursday

Thursday, May 12/87. President Taylor’s health is better this morning. He informed me that he had been much impressed to be administered to and that it was manifested to him that he would receive benefit therefrom. Attended to correspondence.

13 May 1887 • Friday

Friday, May 13/87. The nights are very cold. There has been considerable frost for several nights past. Attended to correspondence. Have been busy a few days perfecting the draft of my general will, for the reasons which I have already stated. Am pleased to receive a note from my son Lewis, informing me that he would try and make a flour bin and repair the refrigerator of his Aunt Carlie. He is only 14 years of age, but he is very ingenious and uses tools very well for a little boy.

14 May 1887 • Saturday

Saturday, May 14/87. Attended to correspondence, and in the evening, accompanied by Bro. Malin, I drove to the city, and was met on the road by Bro. Wilcken and the City Marshal, Bro. Alfred Solomon. They had heard that there [was] some movement around the Hot Springs, where we passed, that looked as though there might be a guard there to intercept us and they had come out for the purpose of satisfying themselves on that point. O. P. Arnold, also, had done the same. I got into the buggy with Bro. Wilcken and Bro. Solomon took my place in the double buggy. Bro. Wilcken took me to my place on the river. I found the family in bed.

15 May 1887 • Sunday

Sunday, May 15/87. Bro. Joshua Stewart had Sunday School with my children. In the afternoon I had sacrament meeting and spoke some time. My son Abraham joined us before the meeting was out. I had an interview with John Q. and him and David regarding family affairs. John Q. was very successful in arranging a difficulty that had occurred, which I felt pleased to have settled, and have good feelings throughout. It is very unpleasant to me to have any jar in my family. The Lord has been very kind to me in giving me peace in my household. My wives and my children have lived together in excellent harmony, and I have been greatly gratified at witnessing the union and peace which have prevailed. It has been a consolation to me many times, when harassed and perplexed through the attacks of enemies, and through cares of one kind or another, to go to my home and find peace and quietude there. The affair to which I allude occurred about five or six weeks ago, and though it was a small matter, it gave me some pain, and I have been desirous to see it corrected, which, I am pleased to say, was done to-day, and the party offending made the necessary acknowledgements, and harmony is restored. I have sometimes thought that may-be I was a little too particular; but my great desire is to govern my family so that no blame shall attach to me for any wrongdoing on the part of any of my children or my wives; and my rule has been to govern by love and kindness, and not by severity. Still, I have endeavored to be strict and at the same time temper my strictness with the Spirit of the Lord and mildness. Brother Wilcken came in the evening for me and took me to the office, where I was joined by my wife Carlie.

16 May 1887 • Monday

Monday, May 16/87. Had an interview with Brother Joseph A. West concerning his private affairs. Submitted the draft of my will to Bro. Franklin S. Richards to see if there was any feature of it that was not proper. He approved of it; thought it was very well drawn. Bro. Franklin D. Richards was also in and asked several questions concerning affairs of the Church. Bro. H. B. Clawson also reported the condition of the mine, which is very favorable. I should be exceedingly thankful to get out of that business when it shall be the Lord’s good pleasure to permit it. The prospects are more favorable now than they have been to accomplish this.

My son John Q. is called suddenly away to California. He came to see me on the subject. His wife Louie Wells Cannon is dead. She has been terribly afflicted with dropsy, and her mother has been with her some time. I mourned over this news very much, and John Q. was completely prostrated by the intelligence. I had an interview to-day with Bro. Joseph Bull, who has been with me on missions, and who was desirous to lay before me his family affairs. He wishes to have his mother and step-mother sealed to me, and to have himself and wife adopted to me. After listening to him, I asked him a number of questions upon the subject. I told him I had no objections to having it attended to whenever circumstances would permit. Bro. Wilcken came around with his buggy to the Tithing Office yard and brought my wife Carlie. I rode for a number of miles with her, and then Bro. Wilcken returned with her to town, and I continued my journey with Bro. James Malin to our quarters.

17 May 1887 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 17/87. My brother Angus came out last night to converse with President Taylor concerning a visit which he thought of making to Great Britain with this excursion that is about to go there. He has a wife and daughter there and the news from the child is that she is very delicate, and he has had an offer of a pass and his expenses would be very light, and it struck him that he might go for a few weeks with propriety. President Taylor conversed with him about the matter and it was decided that it would be better for Angus not to go. President Taylor told him that he might go down to New York and meet them; but his services are so much needed here in this large Stake, and so few are at liberty to do as he is doing, that it would not be advisable for him to take the trip. Attended the correspondence to-day as usual. President Taylor’s health gave me serious concern to-day. He appeared very badly.

18 May 1887 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 18/87. Attended to correspondence as usual. The health of President Taylor is greatly improved and he seems bright and cheerful, though he has not slept so well. He appears to suffer for want of breath after he has slept for a while, and has to arise.

19 May 1887 • Thursday

Thursday, May 19/87. Attended to correspondence as usual. The Governor and and Secretary of the Territory and the Commissioners have been engaged for some time in dividing the Territory into districts. The result of their labors has been published. It is evident that they have done the very best they could to so arrange the districts that our enemies shall get as many members of the Legislature as possible. It will require great care on our part and perfect unity to defeat their schemes. I feel very much impressed that something should be done towards bringing about a better condition of feeling and action in these matters than we have had in some parts in the past. We, as the First Presidency, occupy a peculiar position. The people look to us for guidance; they are willing to do as we say. If they could know our wishes concerning the men whom we wished to form the Legislature, they would, doubtless, very willingly vote for them. In many instances men have been sent to the Legislature concerning whom we have not been consulted, and who, when they have been elected, have not listened to counsel as they should have done. The result has been that in the two last Legislative Assemblies measures have failed that should have been carried, and this, too, despite the appeals which have been made to them and the counsel that has been given. The disfranchisement of the men who have more wives than one has proved a very serious matter in many directions, but particularly in legislative matters. Another class has been elected to seats in the Legislature who have not had the experience and breadth of views, and firmness, and political sagacity that the old members had. At the same time many of them appeared to feel quite self-sufficient and have not seemed to entertain a doubt of their ability to fill the places to the best advantage. As I have remarked to them, this would be well enough if they would bear the responsibility of their acts; but no sooner does the Legislature adjourn than they return to their homes and are freed from all responsibility. No one looks to them for direction or to help carry on affairs, or to give guidance and counsel, if difficulties arise through their Legislative acts or refusal to act; but the load has to be borne by the First Presidency of the Church. Whenever there is trouble of any kind, the people turn their eyes to the First Presidency and ask them for counsel. Now, while this is the case, we think that we should have a voice in the management and direction of affairs, and that our counsel should be listened to. These views have been pressing themselves upon me to-day and I feel that something should be done to have a meeting at an early date with the leading men from the various districts. I suggested to Bro. Nuttall, therefore, that as he wished to make a visit to a part of his family, that he make it to-night and to-morrow so that I could leave here to-morrow evening, which he did.

20 May 1887 • Friday

Friday, May 20/87. I read to President Taylor the correspondence and wrote the answers myself. President Taylor’s health last night seemed to be very poor, but he is quite bright and apparently vigorous in his mind to-day. It is quite a pleasure to see him enjoy his memory and his powers as he appears to. My constant prayer is that while he lives he may have full possession of, at least, his mental powers. In the evening I left for the City with Bro. James Malin, who, I forgot to say, was jerked out of the buggy two nights ago, and considerably injured in the shoulder, by the horse proving unmanageable. I reached the office about half past eleven and was met in the Tithing Office yard by Bro. Charles H. Wilcken.

21 May 1887 • Saturday

Saturday, May 21/87 My son John Q. arrived from California with the corp[s]e of his wife to-day, and it was arranged for the funeral to take place at his house, at 4 P.M., and for her to be buried next to her sister, on her father’s burial lot. A number of the brethren were in and attended to various matters of business. I sent for Bro. Elias A. Smith, the Secretary of the Central Committee, and he, my brother Angus, Bro. L. W. Shurtliff and Bro. Reynolds went through the districts and found what old members were residing in these districts, and drew out lists and canvassed the situation as well as we could with the knowledge before us. I decided to try and get the Presidents of Stakes, or, if they could not come, their principal counselors, to meet me on Wednesday, the 1st of June, in the City, so that we might make all the arrangements necessary for the election campaign that is pending. It is a critical time, and we feel that everything should be done that is possible to secure our triumph at the polls. If we do all in our power, we can then call with propriety upon the Lord to help us to that victory which is necessary to enable us to maintain our supremacy in this land. Had a long conversation with Bros. Burton & Winder in the evening concerning Church business and the sale of cattle, and also respecting the business connected with the districts that we have been attending to to-day. Bro. Le Grand Young also called in, at my request. My wife Carlie was desirous of seeing him respecting making a will. He promised me that he would go and converse with her upon the subject. As he is her cousin, she felt she would like to have him attend to the business. Bro. Wilcken took me down home. I reached there a little after 11 o’clock.

22 May 1887 • Sunday

Sunday, May 22/87. Yesterday the funeral of Louie Wells Cannon was attended to at my son John Q’s house. There was a large concourse of people there. Bishop O. F. Whitney spoke first and was followed by my brother Angus, who made some remark that created great excitement among the people. It gave me great pain to hear about it. I had cautioned him respecting this funeral that great care should be taken that nothing should be said which would create unpleasant feelings. I find my family feeling very badly. John Q. told me that it was harder for him than going to the Tabernacle and making the acknowledgement which he did to the entire congregation. He felt very badly and blamed his Uncle Angus. He said the feeling among some was that I had suggested this course. He appeared almost heartbroken, as did my other children. Abraham, also, felt very badly. I had a very sympathetic conversation with John Q. and did what I could to comfort him; told him my real feelings; that I was very much opposed to that method of doing, under the circumstances, and I had no sympathy whatever with any remarks that would have the effect to hurt feelings. What I said, I think, had the effect to comfort him. He went away without eating; but in the afternoon, after having meeting, we had dinner and he ate with us. I expect that it is the first food he has tasted for several days, from what I hear. We had a very good meeting in the afternoon. My five boys – Angus, Hugh, William, David and Lewis – spoke; Angus administered the sacrament, and I also spoke. The evening was spent in singing and conversation, the girls playing on the piano. Bro. Wilcken called for me at half past eight and carried me to Bro. Solomon’s, where I met Bro. James Malin and rode with him to our quarters.

23 May 1887 • Monday

Monday, May 23/87. President Taylor was in poor health this morning, and I learn that he was not able to attend meeting yesterday. He is much worse than when I left on Friday. He seems to be weaker. Listened to correspondence with him and answered the letters.

24 May 1887 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 24/87. Attended to correspondence as usual. President Taylor had a bad night last night, so I learned this morning. I had some conversation with him concerning his case and suggested that something be done; but he does not seem inclined to take any remedies, though he has had Gunn’s Book of Medicine read to him, and some remedies that he prescribes, such as Dandelion and Parsley tea, he is willing to drink. He was not able to listen to an Appeal case, but wished me to go through the papers. It was from the High Council of Logan, appealed by Charles W. Maughan. There were some other papers, also, which he could not examine, but which he had desired me to look into. I had Bro. Nuttall read the Appeal case and then dictated the decision to him. I afterwards explained it to President Taylor and he agreed with the decision. We sustained the Bishop’s Court and the High Council. A dispatch from Bro. John W. Young was received this morning, which we could not answer, concerning the Constitutional Convention that had been held some time since to frame a Constitution, and which had been adjourned several times, from year to year. He was desirous to get our views concerning it, and as our means of information here would not permit us to make an intelligent reply. President Taylor agreed with me that I should go to the City to attend to the business. Bro. Malin carried me to the half-way house and Bro. Sudbury took me from there to the City. I reached there about midnight.

25 May 1887 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 25/87. Had interviews with Bro. F. D. Richards and his son F. S. Richards, Bro. John R. Winder, Bro. Joseph A. West, my son Abraham, Bro. H. B. Clawson, and others. I learned all I could about The Constitutional Convention and telegraphed to Bro John W. Young as follows: –

“Salt Lake, May 25, 1887.

John W. Young,

57 Broadway, New York.

What advantage in old convention meeting? Might get forty members; strongest men absent. See Richards letter to Williams about minutes. We feel it better for you to give explanations constitution in writing than to make journey and leave field. Answer quick.

(Signed) James Jack.”

We are endeavoring to get Judge Zane removed. A man by the name of Talcott in California, is spoken very highly of and urged for the position. Bro. Clawson saw him when he was in California and thinks highly of him. He had just heard that additional strong telegrams had been sent, and I therefore telegraphed the following to Bro. Young.

“Salt Lake, May 25, 1887.

John W. Young,

57 Broadway, New York.

Strong influence for Talcott sent. Hearst, Stanford, Tevis and others urge him. Should be pushed.

(Signed) James Jack.”

26 May 1887 • Thursday

Thursday, May 26/87. Bro. Hiram B. Clawson is doing what he can to make the visit <pleasant> of Mr. Alexander Badlam and General Brown, the Secretary and Vice President of the Company that is now interested with us in the Bullion, Beck, and he reports to me the results of his conversation with them. They are doing all in their power to effect a compromise, so as to stop the suits, and with some prospect of success. I feel very much encouraged by the reports and am anxious to see the business of the property arranged so that we can dispose of our interests. I feel that the Lord has been helping us very much of late. They talked over, also, the propriety of retaining the new District Attorney, and thought that by doing so in the interests of the mine he could be reached upon other matters and that it would be of benefit to our people. Bro. Clawson suggested this to me and I agreed with it and thought he had better be retained. I met with Bros. W. W. Cluff and W. W. Davis and Sister Julina Smith, and conversed with them respecting President Joseph F. Smith returning from the Islands.**

**See page 2761

I had considerable conversation with Bp. Burton and Bro. F. S. Richards concerning the Church Associations, and at my instance, Bro. Richards got up a circular letter to be addressed to the Presidents of the associations concerning the property which had been turned over to them by the Trustee-in-Trust, also a form of resolution for them to adopt and put on their records so as to make them legal, that in case of investigation they would bear examination in the courts. In the evening Bro. Moses Thatcher called in and I had a very interesting and lengthy conversation with him. Word reached me that the deputies had gone North, and as I had not received any word from the East in reply to the dispatch which we sent, I thought it advisable to remain over night.

27 May 1887 • Friday

Friday, May 27/87. An answer came to the dispatch sent yesterday stating that the old convention was not necessary to meet and promising further information to-morrow. Bro. Clawson went to Ogden with the California gentlemen and expected to have an interview with Mr. Peter, the District Attorney, and them at Ogden. I heard this morning that President Taylor’s health was greatly improved during the last two days, and I wrote to Bros. Cluff and Davis to that effect, informing them that the matter about which we had conversed yesterday would probably be postponed now, but that they might be prepared in case any change for the worse should occur. I dictated to Bro. Arthur Winter “Topics of the Times” and my journal. I returned this evening to our quarters. My wife Carlie accompanied me to the halfway house, in Bro. Wilcken’s buggy. The ride was very delightful and I enjoyed it in the moonlight, as I had been confined to the office for three days.

28 May 1887 • Saturday

Saturday, May 28/87. Found President Taylor feeling tolerably well, though his health is still very poor. I reported to him the result of my operation in town and had considerable conversation with him. I went through all the correspondence that had been received and listened to that which came to-day, and dictated answers to the letters to Brother Nuttall. Bro. Nuttall, in the evening, went on a visit to one of his family.

29 May 1887 • Sunday

Sunday, May 29/87. President Taylor seemed much better this morning; felt himself, he said, that a favorable change had taken place. We held meeting in the afternoon, at which he spoke. The sacrament was administered by Bro. Barrell.

30 May 1887 • Monday

Monday, May 30/87. The weather is very hot. I attended to correspondence as usual. President Taylor played two games of quoits in the morning and four in the afternoon and part of the fifth. His strength has failed him very much in this direction. He has been in the habit, for two or three weeks past, of playing ten games in the morning and ten in the afternoon.

31 May 1887 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 31/87. Attended to correspondence. I was busy yesterday and to-day finishing my will. I feel it important, as I have given counsel upon this subject to the brethren who have more wives than me, that I myself should take the counsel to myself, even if I live to a great age – as I hope I shall if I can be of any use in the Church of God. Some people seem to have superstition about making wills. I have brought this matter to the attention of President Taylor and have drafted a will to Bro. Nuttall for him to read to him, but he is averse to doing anything about the matter. He replied to Bro. Nuttall during one of my absences, that he noticed that wills and deaths seemed to be associated. His family do not have their residence set apart to them, and if he would divide them and deed them to them, it would be very satisfactory to them and be a saving of trouble if anything should happen to him. But it seems that the feeling in him is, that if he appears to be preparing for death, he will show a want of faith in living that he does not wish to exhibit, and that he does not wish others to notice. If he were not President Taylor, I would consider his situation very critical. He has not eaten anything much for a day or two, and to-day is unable to go out and pitch quoits, and feels very badly. I exercise all the faith I can for him. He has great hope himself, and this faith of his encourages me. I dislike to take a gloomy view of his case, because it seems so necessary that he should live. I left with Bro. Sam. Bateman this evening to go to the City to meet with the Presidents of Stakes, to fill the appointment which I had made for them to come to the city to canvass their election districts, and to decide upon the men whom they should send to the Legislature, so as to insure union among them. Bro. Bateman and myself were met by Brother Wilcken between the Hot Springs and Bountiful, and I changed seats with Bro. Wilcken. We were overtaken by the most violent wind and dust storm that I ever experienced in my life. We could not see the horse and was compelled to stand still at the beginning for over 15 minutes in the road, not being able to move a step for fear of meeting with disaster, as the horse could not see the way; and from that point up to the Tithing Office we had to stop at least half a dozen times. I sent for Bro. Jack and had him telegraph to San Francisco to find out what time the steamer would sail for Honolulu, and sent for Bro. Cluff; told him that if there was time I wanted him to go to there and catch that steamer. He said he would have to return home by the morning train.

Cite this page

May 1887, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed June 19, 2024