February 1889

Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1889

17 February ff.

Reflections on imprisonment of self and others

22 February

Visit to wife Elizabeth’s grave

24 February

Manifestation of love by people gathered in the Salt Lake tabernacle

3 March

President Wilford Woodruff “described the ministering of an angel which he received, when he was on his first mission in Tennessee.”

14 March ff.

“I have indured a great deal from President [John] Taylor’s heirs since his death, through this mining property.”

31 March

“I had occasion to explain the difference between the world’s method and ours. With them it was Vox Populi, Vox Dei, while with us it was Vox Dei, Vox Populi.”

7 April

Spoke with power for over an hour in general conference

9 April

“Our enemies had instituted suits for perjury against people who had voted, claiming that they had sworn falsely in taking the test oath.”

15 April

Traveled with wife Carlie and had business in California

28 April

Greeted with “a most cordial and enthusiastic reception” in Brigham City, Utah

30 April

Celebration of the centennial anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington as president of the United States

5 May

Description of Heber City, Utah

11 May

“I proved it is quite possible to build houses if care is taken in laying the foundations.”

15 May

Frank letter about financial matters to John Beck in Germany

19 May

Felt “a heavenly influence” in the Manti, Utah, temple

23 May

Examined plans for the Salt Lake temple

24 May

Indians seeking Mormon counsel

25 May

Response to the appointment of Charles S. Zane as chief justice of Utah Territory

1 June

“I did not like the fashion that they [Y.M.M.I.A. speakers] have fallen into of reading their productions.”

4 June

“We had an interview also with Sisters Elmira Taylor, Maria Y. Dougall and Susie Young Gates about the publication of a ladies Magazine.”

6 June

“I cannot afford to take many risks under my circumstances, even if the making of a good deal of money should make the proposition a tempting one.”

11 June ff.

“Contention which has arisen over the city’s claim of one-third of the water coming out of Utah Lake”

27 June

Cannon had his “likeness taken” by Ralph Savage.

1 July

Conflict with John Beck regarding “the option which we had given to the California Company” regarding the Bullion, Beck and Champion Mining Company

3 July

A Dane baptized by John Whitmer met with President Wilford Woodruff and Cannon and “predicted woes upon us unless we listened to and obeyed him.”

4 July

Outing to the quarry “where the Temple rock is procured”

7 July

“The 5th Ward meeting-house . . . is as fine a building of its size as I have seen in the Territory.”

9 July

Meeting with prominent citizens “concerning the nominations for County officers”

15 July ff.

Continuing conflict regarding the Bullion, Beck and Champion Mining Company business

3 August

“It was most unjust and cruel [of John Beck] to accuse me of double dealing and wrongdoing in this matter” of the transfer of stock.”

4 August

Remarked that “unless the people manifested more faith in paying tithing and paying in their surplus property, there was very little room to hope that they were prepared to enter into the United Order”

15 August

Meeting with General John A. McClernand of the Utah Commission

9 September

President Woodruff said that the situation regarding plural marriage was like that when the Saints were prevented the building of a temple in Jackson County, Missouri, and God accepted their offering.

10 September

Meeting with the directors of Z.C.M.I.

11 September

Protecting his liberty, Cannon did not attend wife Sarah Jane’s fiftieth birthday celebration.

12 September

Cannon’s approach “concerning the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles”

17 September

Cannon afflicted with facial paralysis

24 September

Unity of the First Presidency and need for more unity of the Quorum of the Twelve

1 October

The First Presidency “conversed about filling the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve.”

6 October

President Woodruff’s remarks in general conference about filling the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve

7 October

Charge to the newly-appointed apostles, Mariner W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, and Abraham H. Cannon

22 October

Trip to the Northwest

17 February 1889 • Sunday

SUNDAY, Feb. 17th 1889.

It is just three years ago to day since I was brought in to the city a wounded prisoner, and laid in this condition in the Marshal’s office until I had furnished $45,000.00 bonds. The time, for the last few days, has gone quickly enough, but I have noticed, for perhaps the past five weeks, that I look more anxiously for the termination of the term of my imprisonment, than I had done previous to that time, and while each day passes swiftly enough, I do not get weary, neither does the time drag in any manner, yet in looking ahead time looks longer than it had done. Today we had a very nice Sunday School, and I spoke to the class about my approaching release. It was the last Sunday that I would probably be with them. I made some remarks which I felt deeply myself, and which appeared to touch the feelings of the class. I made a motion that Brother F. M. Lyman, who would be still in the prison for some little time, should take charge of the class, which was unanimously sustained. I have had great pleasure in this Bible class, and it has been the means of doing great good. It has been a comfort to the brethren, and I have had it told me different times by the brethren, that they never attended so good a school, and one where they learned so much. I have been greatly blessed with the Spirit of the Lord in giving instruction, and we have discussed many interesting questions. The organ, that I had been the means of procuring through the agency of Brother John Morgan, has been of great worth to us, as we have had a very excellent choir, and our singing has been quite an interesting feature in our exercises. Mr. Iliff, a Methodist preacher, came to preach to us today. I was detained outside in the Warden’s office a little while, and he remained outside until I came out, as he was desirous to be introduced to me. He was accompanied by two young men. He preached the best Methodist sermon I have ever listened to. He is a very fine speaker, and confined himself to his theme, describing the benefits which follow a life of goodness, and the evils which follow an opposite course. He spoke incidentally of infidelity, and dwelt upon the advantages of faith in God, and also of intemperance, and the dreadful evils which flow from the practice of intemperance. He and his companions came around to the cell where a number of us were standing, and where he met Brother Lyman, with whom he was acquainted. He manifested a very good spirit, and spoke about myself, and said he thought we were probably in a better condition than Paul was, when he was in prison.

18–20 February 1889 • Monday–Wednesday

MONDAY, TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, the 18th, 19th and 20th of Feb.

I have had a good many visitors these days, and I am making my preparations to go out. I leave the brethren with some regret, and they look for my departure with some feelings of regret, though they are glad that I am likely to be free. I can truthfully say that my imprisonment has been, on the whole, very pleasant. I have not had a moment’s unhappiness, arising from my confinement, or anything that has occurred inside the walls of the Penitentiary. It is true that there have been some things outside, of which I have heard, that have been connected with the remarks that have been made in the council, and which have given me much sorrow[—]Not for anything that I have said or done, but because of the feelings manifested for which I grieve. I came to the Pen. a happy man, glad to meet the charges against me, and hoping that by submitting to imprisonment that I should, in a short time, emerge therefrom, and be free to labor in my ministry. The Lord manifested to me in a very plain manner, before I came in, that I <ought to> should go, and that if I did, it would be easier for the brethren who should follow, and that we should have kinder treatment in prison. I can truthfully testify that all this has been fulfilled. I have seen the brethren come with much lighter sentences, since my surrender, than those who preceded me received, and there has been a great modification in the feelings of the prison officials. Privileges are accorded now to the brethren that were denied before I came here. Articles of food are allowed which were forbidden previously, and when I have looked at the tables where the brethren sat, and seen the fruit and other articles which they had, I considered that our lot was far from being a hard one. It is not a very great trial if one makes up his mind to submit to it and bear it patiently, but I have felt deep sympathy for the women and children, whose husbands and protectors are incarcerated in prison.

21 February 1889 • Thursday

THURSDAY, Feb. 21st. <1889>

Brother Wilcken called for me, took me in his buggy, and we went down to Brother Woodruff’s. I met him, and had a very warm meeting. My wife Sarah Jane was also there, however, by accident, not knowing that I was going to call. We took Brother Woodruff into our vehicle, and I drove home to my house on the river, where we found my brother Angus and my son Abram waiting for us. We had a very enjoyable breakfast together. I cannot describe my feelings of thankfulness at being once more free. My heart is full of praise to the Lord for the goodness He has shown to me. I accompanied Brother Woodruff to the city and met Brother Nuttle [Nuttall].

22 February 1889 • Friday

Friday, Feb. 22nd.

I took my wife Elizabeth’s children, this morning, to the Denver and Rio Grande depot to meet my son John Q., who had come down from Ogden at my request<,> to join us in going to visit the grave of his mother. He drove the Victorine, with Mary Alice and Emily and myself in it, and Brother Wilcken drove another vehicle with Abram, David and Sylvester. We met Brother Robert Patrick, the sexton, who pointed out to us the lots, and gave us a diagram of them. This is the first visit I have made to my wife’s grave, except once in the night (when we were on the underground), for upwards of five years. A monument had been built since that time, but I find that they had not put the foundation high enough, and it will have to be raised in order to conform to the grading of the lot. My mind has dwelt a good deal upon the condition of the dead, since I have been in prison. I have five children buried here, and a wife and an aunt (my father’s sister Eleanor), and other friends, and I am desirous, now that it is arranged for water to be brought in for irrigating purposes, to take steps towards adorning my lots with trees and grass and flowers. It would be necessary to put a coping around; it will cost probably $2.50 per foot. We returned home, and Brother Woodruff accompanied us. Sister Davey roasted us a very nice turkey, and we had dinner together. After dinner, Brother Woodruff was taken home by Brother Wilcken. While Brother Woodruff was at dinner with us today, he asked my son John Q. how he would like to take a mission to Turkey. John replied that he was willing to do whatever he was called upon, and spoke in a very satisfactory manner respecting his willingness to take a mission whenever called upon, and before leaving he repeated to President Woodruff that he was on hand whenever he should be called upon to go any where. My mind has been directed to the Turkish Mission for sometime past, as a field where John Q. might labor with profit to himself and to the people, but I did not mention it to anyone, and from the expressions he made today, he himself had had his mind directed to that same quarter.

23 February 1889 • Saturday

SATURDAY, Feb. 23rd. <1889>

I spent the day in town, and had a great many visitors, all of whom expressed the great pleasure they had in seeing me once more free. Brother Woodruff has concluded to attend the meeting with me tomorrow at the Tabernacle.

24 February 1889 • Sunday

SUNDAY, Feb. 24th.

Brother Wilcken called for me with my Victorine about a quarter to one, and then drove over to Brother Woodruff’s, and we rode together to the city. The state-road was lined with vehicles carrying people to the meeting. When we entered the Tabernacle, we found the body of the house and the galleries filled, and by the time services had commenced they were quite crowded. It looked, outside the building to see the vehicles tied, and inside to the see the people, like Conference time. When we made our apperance in the stand, some of the congregation commenced clapping their hands, but were repressed by my brother Angus arising and waving for them to discontinue. Had he not checked them, I supposed we would have had quite a scene, as everybody was anxious to see and to express their pleasure in greeting us once more. My emotions were indescribable at witnessing this manifestation of love in the gathering together of so many people to welcome me once more to public usefulness. My emotions almost overwhelmed me. Had there been notice given out and the people invited, it would not have been so much to be thought of, but this gathering was entirely spontaneous on the part of the people, and I felt to praise the Lord in my heart for giving me such a warm place in the affections of my brethren and sisters. Brother Woodruff was greeted with great delight, however it was not generally known that he would be present on the occasion. I feared to speak, because my feelings were too big for utterance, and I had been so long out of practice of speaking to large congregations that I was afraid I would not make myself heard by the vast assemblage. At President Woodruff’s request I led off. As he did not wish to occupy very much time, I spoke for one hour, and he addressed the congregation for about twenty minutes. I spoke with a great deal of freedom. I enjoyed the Spirit of the Lord in my remarks. Brother Wilcken drove the Victorine and carried Brother Woodruff to his place, and then we went down to my place. My brother Angus accompanied us. After partaking of a little refreshment, I had my son David drive me, in his cart, to the Fifth Ward meeting house. I addressed the Saints for a little over an hour, and enjoyed very much freedom.

25 February 1889 • Monday

MONDAY, Feb. 25th.

Brother S. R. Thurman came down to see me on legal matters in making the defence of our brethren on charges of adultery. I had considerable conversation with him, and then went up with him in his vehicle. I met a good many people, and spent most of the day with President Woodruff.

26 February 1889 • Tuesday

TUESDAY, Feb. 26th. <1889>

I am troubled with a sore throat this morning. I have been greatly saddened with an occurance on Sunday morning. Sister Shulthess, wife of Brother Shulthess, who has been working for me as gardener, a young married woman, was taken sick at two o’clock on Saturday morning last, and was delivered of twin boys. She went into convulsions and died at two o’clock on Sunday morning. She was a very promising, fine young woman, and it filled us all with grief. Today was appointed for her funeral, and I took the time to go to the First Ward meeting house, where the services were held, to participate in the ceremonies. The house was very much crowded, and there was great grief manifested by her kindred. Her people live in Cache Valley. They are Swiss, and rather superior people, but they abandoned themselves to their grief. I addressed the congregation for about an hour, and led their minds away from the death of their relative, until their attention became absorbed, and they controlled themselves. When, however, before closing I made remarks concerning the deceased, they broke out anew. I told them that it was not right to yield so much to sorrow. From there I went to Brother Wilcken’s and ate lunch with him at his house. I afterwards met Brother Franklin S. Richards, and talked over various political and legal matters.

27 February 1889 • Wednesday

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 27th

I found that an application of raw pork covered with black pepper, applied outwardly to my throat last night had the effect to cure my sore throat, but I suffered very much from a cold. I was busy at the office all day. Brother Wilcken came down with me in the evening, and gave me a hot bath, and washed me with alcohol. The council of the Apostles met at ten o’clock this morning. There were present President Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Moses Thatcher, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor. Bishops Preston, Burton and Winder were also present. The first matter of importance was that of extending help to the Ogden “Standard.” President L. W. Shurtliff, of the Weber Stake, F. S. Richards and my son Frank were requested to be present to explain the situation of affairs, which they did in a very comprehensive manner. I was particularly pleased in listening to Frank’s statements concerning the policy of the paper, and explaining why they had taken certain positions, and although I cannot fully indorse all that has been done there, still it cleared up some points that had not been plain. The paper needs about $10,000.00 of help, that is, they have seven thousand dollars of stock which has not been taken up, and there is about $3,000.00 in floating debt. Considerable has been said concerning the policy which the paper has pursued, and Brother Thatcher, in remarks which were made before Brothers Shurtliff, Richards and Frank came in, condemned that policy, and rather intimated that the loss of the city elections was due to the course taken by the “Standard.” As Brothers Shurtliff, Richards and Frank had not heard these remarks, I asked some questions for the purpose of drawing out explanations on the points mooted by Brother Thatcher, and it was in response to these questions that Frank made his remarks. He did so with great clearness, and stated that we could do as we liked with the paper, they only wanted to do as we wished. He was willing, as a director of the company and as editor of the paper, to resign at any moment, and would do so very gladly to be relieved from the responsibility. He explained how little he had made out of the paper pecuniarily—that his salery of $125.00 per month had been more than half of it spent in paying for help which the paper needed but could not afford, and if the way the paper had been conducted was not satisfactory, and if there was anybody else they would rather have to carry out some other policy, he would gladly step out of the way, and would himself give a dollar for every paper in order to help sustain it, that is, a dollar for every issue of the paper for a year. If the brethren of the council would indicate what policy they wished to pursue, they would endeavor to carry it out, and felt so all the time. After their departure, we had quite a lengthy discussion. Brother Grant made a motion that $7,000.00 be appropriated for the stock, and $1,000.00 to help pay the floating debt, on condition that the stock holders would raise the balance of the debt, and wipe out all indebtedness. This motion was finally seconded by Brother F. D. Richards. Brother Thatcher seemed strongly opposed to such an appropriation. He suggested various things; among others, that the paper should be sold and that the “Herald” and the “News” take its place. He dwelt on the disadvantage under which we labor from having so many publications, and none of them being properly sustained. If we would center our efforts in sustaining these papers, he thought it would be much better than to have so many papers eking out a miserable existence. His remarks about centering the business in the “Herald” and the “News” seemed to suit Brother Grant, he having made such a proposition sometime before, and they argued the proposition with a great deal of pertinacity. Brother Woodruff thought they all had spoken upon the question, and he arose and remarked that he thought that the paper should be sustained. His remarks did not seem to be accepted as a decision upon the subject, and the discussion continued. Brother Preston, who had been out, now came in and joined in it. He proposed that $5,000.00 be appropriated, and 200.00 dollars a month out of the Tithing Office for a year. I felt that there was too much of a division, and too much of a disposition to force individual views, regardless of the wishes of the council, and I remarked that the proper way in our councils was, after all had expressed views, for the President to then give his decision, as Brother Woodruff had already done. This would put an end to division and differences of views being argued with such pertinacity. Brother Thatcher did not seem to comprehend the drift of my remarks, and got up and made comments upon them, as though such a course would prevent the brethren of the council from expressing their views. I explained in a few words what I meant. Brother Lorenzo Snow arose and dwelt at some length upon the views which I had expressed. He coincided with them, and said that it was the way we had always done in our councils when subjects were up before us, until recently. Brother Franklin D. Richards made some remarks concerning the disposition which was manifested to leave Ogden to itself for the sake of money, and his remarks were quite pointed. They called Brother Grant to his feet, who thought that some of them were personal to him, and he replied to them. Finally, however, the motion that Brother Grant had made was carried, and I was greatly relieved, because I felt very badly at seeing the division there was among us upon this question, and I have felt to plead with the Lord that such divisions might cease. We adjourned until ten o’clock tomorrow.

28 February 1889 • Thursday

TUESDAY <Thursday>, Feb. 27th. [28th.] <1889>

We met at ten o’clock, and had Brother Franklin S. Richards meet with us, for the purpose of taking into consideration the proper steps to take in view of the disposition of the courts to indict and bring in convictions for adultery for the same period that is covered by indictments for unlawful cohabitation. I have been very much stirred up in my feelings concerning this point, and have had, while in the Pen, a number of interviews with Brother Richards, and the other attorneys, on this question. There are a number of brethren in the Penitentiary, serving out their terms for unlawful cohabitation, who have indictments for adultery hanging over them, and which they will have to meet as soon as they get out of prison. I have felt that this was segregation in a worse form than had been condemned by the Supreme Court of the United States in Brother Snow’s case. I thought that we should take some steps that would, if possible, stop such prosecutions. After Brother Richards had fully explained all the points to the council, it was felt that though there is danger of the Supreme Court ruling against us, it is better to know the worst and prepare ourselves for it than to permit such a condition of things to exsist as now does, and to permit these prosecutions to go on, as Peters, the District Attorney, and the courts seem determined to have them. Peters has promised Brother Richards that if he was disposed to take a test case on Habeas Corpus, that he would help arrange a case so that the question might be decided by the highest tribunal, and Peters seemed fully convinced that the Supreme Court of the Territory would decide against us. The council voted that Brother Richards prepare a suitable case. After this business was ended, we decided that he should also make overtures to Judge Jeremiah Wilson, of Washington, looking to his employment as our counsel in Washington. He was of the opinion that his services could be secured for less than $3,000.00, and probably for $2,000.00. This would cost us no more than we have been paying for some time back. A. M. Gibson has been employed in Washington at a salary of $3,600.00 a year. Brother Joseph F. Smith informs us that he has told Mr. Gibson that his services would be no longer needed after the fourth of March. Mr. Gibson has proposed, however, to remain in our employ if we will give him $500.00 a year, that is, for each session of Congress, and in the event of Utah being admitted as a state, the contingent fee of $500.00. His proposal had been accepted. This makes a saving of $3,100.00 per annum, which Brother Richards thinks will more than pay Judge Jerry Wilson, whose legal ability and high position and familiarity, and interest he has in our cause, would make him a valuable help to us. The council adjourned about one o’clock, and I <Pres. Woodruff and a number of others> went out at two on a special train to Saltair, a place on the lake which is reached by a little branch line from the Utah and Nevada, and the switch where we turned off is a little east of Brother Kesler’s. Brother James Jack is the president of the company, which is manufacturing salt at this point. Brother Nephi Clayton has a large interest, also. Brother Riter accompanied us. The trip was a very pleasant one, and what we saw was exceedingly interesting. They have a capacity to manufacture fifty tons of fine salt per day. The water is pumped from a canal, which leads from the lake; and the pump will carry a stream nearly as large as City Creek in its <normal> modern state. The water thus raised runs in the canal to the ponds, and from the ponds drains are arranged to drain the water after the salt is precipitated, back into the lake. The process which is used here, makes, it is said, the finest article of salt in the world. Objections to our salt heretofore have been that in consequence of the quantity of soda and other impure elements in it, it was unfit for packing butter or for salting meat, that is, to preserve them, and Liverpool salt has been imported to this country for use, a most extraordinary state of affairs, in view of the immense quantity we have right at our doors. It seems that by their present process the salt precipitates rapidly, and the soda and other impurities remain, and are floated off. The salt is then prepared for the market in five and ten pound bags, and is a very excellent article, white, pure and very fine. If transportation can be secured at reasonable figures, Brother Clayton says they can have no real competition, for they can undersell anybody in the market.

I admired some shale they had out there, and Brother Clayton said that he would send me in a car to test it around my house, and Brother Riter said that he would ship it for me free. We returned to the city in time for me to go on the Denver and Rio Grande train to keep an appointment which I had made with my son John Q., my son accompanied me (Abraham), and Brothers Franklin D. Richards, Shurtliff and C. C. Richards went up at the same time. I had a very pleasant ride to Ogden. This is the first time that I have had the privilige of riding on the train since my capture, when I was secured <surrounded> by a company of soldiers from the Promontory, who stood around my couch with loaded guns and acted toward me as a prisoner of war might have been treated. John Q. and Frank met us at the station, and the three boys and myself rode up to Frank’s house, where I saw his wife and children, and spent a few moments, and then went over to John Q’s and found his wife and the children, and her mother. I remained there for the night. Abraham, John and myself had [the rest of the page has been cut away] spent in Salt lake City, and I had not been in debt one hundred dollars. If we did not have the money to buy things we went without them, and my family had to work and maintain themselves the best they could, while I was away.

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February 1889, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed March 1, 2024 https://production.churchhistorianspress.org/george-q-cannon/1880s/1889/02-1889