December 1895

1 December 1895 • Sunday

Sunday, December 1,1895 Stormy day. I debated some time in my mind about going to meeting. I held a meeting with my children in the forenoon, and as the hour approached it snowed so heavily that I concluded I would not go, as I was not feeling well. I almost regretted afterwards that I had not gone, as the weather cleared up, and I have made it a rule to not allow any personal considerations to deter me from attending meeting if I am well enough to go out.

2 December 1895 • Monday

Monday, December 2, 1895. Came to the office. Presidents Woodruff and Smith afterwards came in and they were both in the enjoyment of good health. I dictated my journal to Brother Winter.

A meeting of the Twelve Apostles was called for 2 o’clock, and Brothers Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, John H. Smith, H. J. Grant and A. H. Cannon were found in the city. The object President Woodruff had in calling them together was to submit to them the proposition which had been made by Mr. Banigan concerning the Pioneer Electric Power Company. The only terms upon which he would consent to buy the bonds was to have the bonds at 80% and $300,000 of preferred stock and a guarantee such as we placed upon the sugar bonds—that is, the First Presidency and Frank J. Cannon. I had felt to reject this proposition entirely when I left for Omaha; but a letter from Frank came while I was gone in which the particulars of his conversation with Mr. Banigan was given, and which, in order that it may be understood, I copy here:

Plaza Hotel, New York, Nov. 21, 1895.

To the President and Board of Directors of the Pioneer Electric Power Company,

Salt Lake City, Utah.


After two conferences with Mr. Banigan, covering discussion of all phases of our enterprise, he stands absolutely by his letter to the President of the company. He will take the bonds at 80 with $300,000 of the preferred stock as a bonus, the bonds to be guaranteed, and other details to be carried out according to the terms of his communication—except that he will waive the dividend on the preferred stock and the cumulative character thereof for the first year after works are completed, and all money expended on the company’s operations can be paid out of the amounts received for the bonds.

For a time it looked as if he would yield the guarantee, or would consent to take the bonds at 90; but he finally summed up his conclusions as above, and made suggestions which I condense as follows:

“It takes a good deal of courage to put up One million two hundred thousand dollars on an enterprise in Utah. In my judgment you will not find the money elsewhere on as easy terms as I offer to you. Should you endeavor to obtain the money through ordinary channels you will be subjected to interminable delays and annoyances. Believe me, I have your interest at heart. I like to deal with you. I am perfectly satisfied that your people are all right and their enterprises are good ones. I shall feel personally a little bit jealous if someone else shall have this deal, but I will now offer to give to you my advice, so that you may not be injured by any sharp practice on the other side. If you shall choose to take it elsewhere, I will help you all I can with advice. I think that I am worth something to you in this matter—worth all that I charge. It is true that I seem to cut deep; but it is also true that your people, who will not have actually invested a dollar of money, will have $1,700,000 of stock in a paying enterprise, all of which will soon pay dividends. As I only get $600,000 in profits for the investment of $1,200,000, and you get $1,700,000 without any investment, it seems to me that we are not making an unequitable division, and that I am not asking too much when I insist that your people, who are on the ground, shall guarantee to me the principal and interest that I put in. You must bear in mind that my proposed method is one which insures safety and high repute for your enterprise. From the moment that we begin you do not have any difficulty for money. It is forthcoming as fast as the proper demands of the work can arise. I shall not put any of the bonds on the market, but shall hold them all in my possession, advancing the money personally until after the works are completed and in operation. In this way your securities are not hawked about. You go on your way quietly, and when your enterprise is fully established it has the best credit and standing which can possibly be obtained. Perhaps you do not estimate this suggestion as highly as it deserves. I call it very ingenious. Your work is done, and the world does not know how. After the works are in operation I place the bonds quietly among my friends, and the world can know that your people have made a remarkable development, and have put on foot a most remarkable enterprise. I do not see what risk your people are taking in guaranteeing these bonds. It seems quite clear that the enterprise at the worst will more than pay the annual interest charged. You will be free to gather in all the valuable concessions which the locality will grant. Relieved of financial anxiety you will all be free to concentrate your efforts in making this enterprise even more successful than you have ever dreamed. I admit that the bonds ought to go at 90—from your standpoint—but from my standpoint you must see that I am not asking more than my proper share, when you consider the courage it takes to send so large a sum of money to such a distance. I have not delayed you an hour, nor will I delay you. I have not done anything yet in the matter—have not even thought of the engineer whom I would want to send to Ogden to examine the works; but I will begin if you shall decide to accept. I will select a particular engineer in whom I will have perfect confidence, and whom you can also trust, and upon his report we will proceed. If you can make as good a deal anywhere else on the face of this earth, I shall be surprised. It is only my absolute confidence in the wonderful resources of Utah, and the industrious, thrifty and honest character of the your people, which prompt me to make an offer that would be a surprise to my friends, if they knew it.”

I was at first inclined to reject Mr. Banigan’s terms, in view of the authority given to me by the Board of Directors; but he laid so much stress upon the advantage to us of having the business done in the way he suggested, and he showed so clearly the value of his association with us—commanding as he does so high a place in the industrial and financial world—that I felt it would be unfair to you, and a presumption upon my authority, did I not communicate his statements fully for your consideration. Perhaps Mr. Banigan is not presuming beyond the certainties when he says that we will not make a deal with anyone else so valuable to ourselves as this would be. Perhaps we may get the money through Mr. Knisely in England on easy terms; but it is possible that the entire benefit of such association would end with the mere furnishing of the money. In Mr. Banigan’s case that is not so, as I understand his statement. He remarks very justly that all the difficulties which we will ever have with him are the difficulties at the outset. He always gets the thing right to start with, and then it goes right. I do not make any recommendation in this matter because it would be an act or word of temerity on my part to do so, except to say this: In view of Mr. Banigan’s earnest words of counsel and proffer of help I do not believe that we can (taking all things together) do better elsewhere. Were I alone in the matter, with financial strength to carry the guarantee, I should make it, believing that upon proper representation Ogden City and Weber County will make such large concessions, and individuals will grant to us so much, that we will be made safe beyond a doubt.

However, should you conclude to reject this offer, we should at once open negotiations with Mr. Knisely. To that end it would probably be requisite for Mr. Bannister to visit St. Louis. The opening of Congress is so near, and the Statehood matter is so grave, that after the 2nd of December I must not take any time from official duties until Utah has her full right of sovereignty—except that, if we should deal with Mr. Banigan, he being so near, I can run up from Washington to see him here at New York at any time.

An immediate reply by telegram is desired. If I shall receive your answer on Tuesday next, I can confer with Mr. Banigan on Wednesday.

Respectfully submitted,

(Signed) Frank J. Cannon,

General Mang.

It seems that this letter had impressed Presidents Woodruff and Smith very favorably, and they had waited for my return. I was a little surprised that it had not been rejected. At this meeting a full statement of the condition of affairs was read, which had been prepared by Mr. Bannister, who had gone east on account of the sickness of a son of his at Chicago. Bishop John R. Winder was also present at the meeting, he being interested in the Company. After a full discussion, which lasted upwards of two hours, the brethren voted, at the instance of President Snow, to sustain us in giving this guarantee. They thought on the whole it was the best that could be done, although they thought Mr. Banigan asked an exorbitant price. Brother John H. Smith said to President Woodruff in giving his vote, that he did so because the rest did, but he was not altogether clear in his mind as to the propriety of the movement. I stated my feelings on the subject; that I had been entirely opposed to the proposition as it was originally made, but that since coming into the meeting my mind had received light in favor of it, and this was especially confirmed upon me by the feeling that President Woodruff had respecting this proposition. I had never seen him when he appeared more clear in his mind as to the propriety of accepting this than he did on this occasion. I afterwards said to several of the Twelve in talking with them about President Woodruff, that he was the man whom God had chosen to lead the people, and he was the man unto whom the voice and will of the Lord came in regard to matters of public importance for the government of the Church and the management of its affairs, and however men might say he was old and a man not familiar with business, &c., still he was the Lord’s choice, and I knew that for myself, and therefore when he was clear upon any point it gave me great confidence and strength in relation to it.

3 December 1895 • Tuesday

Tuesday, December 3, 1895 At the office attending to various matters this morning. Dictated my journal and other things to Brother Winter.

President Woodruff was called upon by Brother John W. Taylor and the business that occupied our attention yesterday was submitted to him. We made verbal explanations to him, and he said he was desirous to see the statements of the Company, and called upon Brother John R. Winder for that purpose.

We had a somewhat lengthy interview with Brother William Clive and Brother Thomas, musicians, who formed part of the orchestra in the theatre under the direction of Brother George Careless. The complaint these brethren made was that because of their adherence to the counsel of the authorities in their not joining the union they had lost their position. Brother Clive had been offered the leadership of the Grand Opera House orchestra at $17 per week if he would join the union. He had also been told he might retain his position in the orchestra in the theatre under the new leader, Brother Weihe, if he would join the union. He presented this to us to know what he should do. He had already lost two places through not being a member of the union; but he would rather suffer than to disobey counsel, although the payment of the balance due on his home depended upon his receiving employment. Brothers Heber J. Grant and John Henry Smith, of the board of directors of the theatre, were present and heard the statement; and it was moved that they take the matter in hand, to see what could be done about it.

Sister Emily S. Richards called to get counsel about herself and other sisters joining non-Mormon ladies in petitioning for the Ladies’ Home to be transferred to the State. I suggested that they had better stop all petitioning about that until after we are a State, when I thought with two Senators and Member of the House we might ask with some expectation of getting our request granted.

4 December 1895 • Wednesday

Wednesday, December 4, 1895 A meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Company was held this morning at our office. Mr. Bannister and Judge Patton came down from Ogden to attend it. Several matters of business were attended to, and Brothers Winder and A. H. Woodruff and Messrs. Bannister and Patton retired to consult as to what ought to be done for the men who should guarantee the bonds according to the proposition of Mr. Banigan. It was proposed to increase the capital stock to two millions, and they made two propositions: one, that the four guarantors should receive two hundred thousand between them, and the remaining five hundred thousand to be in the hands of a trustee for the Church; or that the whole seven hundred thousand should be left the Presidency to do with as they pleased.

At 1 o’clock I went to the Temple and sealed Sister Drusilla Rich, the fiftieth and youngest child of the late Charles C. Rich, to Brother Streeper, the oldest son of Brother William Streeper and Sister Mary Richards Streeper. 28 years ago I married Sister Mary Richards to Brother William Streeper, and his son was desirous that I should perform the ceremony for him and his wife.

There was a meeting of Zion’s Savings Bank & Trust Co. today.

The First Presidency had a conversation with Brother John R. Winder, going over the details of the stock in the Pioneer Electric Power Company.

5 December 1895 • Thursday

Thursday, December 5, 1895. Before going to the Temple this morning the First Presidency had an interview with Brothers F. D. & F. S. Richards. The purport of the interview was to get our support for Governor West in his application for the federal judgeship of the new State, and in the event of his not succeeding, to get our influence for Brother F. S. Richards for the same position, to be backed by West and his friends. After listening to it, Presidents Woodruff and Smith expressed themselves very favorably; and as I said nothing, President Woodruff wanted to know what my view was. I told them I had not the least objection, but unfortunately I had made a promise to another party months ago; but I said I could see no reason why they should not write a letter to Frank J. Cannon, our delegate, to urge the appointment of Governor West, which letter was written and sent to him.

We held our usual meeting at the Temple. The First Presidency and Brothers Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Moses Thatcher, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor and Abraham H. Cannon were present. Brother Thatcher called upon us yesterday, when he looked very badly; he is looking better today.

I dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

6 December 1895 • Friday

Friday, December 6, 1895 Was busy at the office all day. Dictated a number of letters and my journal.

7 December 1895 • Saturday

Saturday, December 7, 1895 I left the city on the 8 o’clock train for Kaysville to attend conference there. Was met at the station by a carriage from Brother John R. Barnes and taken to his house, where I met President John W. Hess and his counselors and a number of other Elders. The meeting was opened at 10 o[’]clock. The Bishops were called upon to describe the situation of their wards, after which Brother Hess made some remarks. I occupied the rest of the time.

I took dinner with Brother Barnes and his family.

I expected my son Abraham up for the afternoon meeting; but to our mutual disappointment the train on which he started did not stop at Kaysville, but carried him to Ogden, and he had to come back again. He reached there when the meeting was two-thirds through. I spoke most of the afternoon and felt considerable freedom in doing so. Abraham spoke for about a quarter of an hour and bore testimony.

From the meeting I went to Brother Thomas Roueche’s house. He lives with his daughter Josephine. I was desirous of visiting them, for I spent many pleasant days under Brother Roueche’s roof while we were on the “underground”, this being the place where President Taylor departed this life. Brother Roueche has since lost his wife—a most excellent woman, and a native of the Isle of Man.

I reached the city about 7:30, and was met by Brother Wilcken with a carriage.

8 December 1895 • Sunday

Sunday, December 8, 1895 I reached home last night suffering from an attack of chills and was quite sick during the night. My wife Carlie waited upon me, the rest of my folks having gone to a recital by Miss Babcock and pupils.

I feel badly this morning; but it is conference in this stake and it was understood that I would attend, and as there are none of the Twelve here I concluded I would go, though I felt quite sick. President Woodruff also attended the conference. The morning meeting was occupied by the Presidency of the Stake. The[y] gave the meeting, which was very thinly attended, a report of the condition of affairs in the Stake.

I took a meal with my brother Angus and his wife Sarah.

In the afternoon the sacrament was administered, and President Woodruff spoke about 35 minutes, and I occupied about 40 minutes. The house was filled in the lower part; the gallery was not opened. I had dreaded the meeting today, because I felt so unequal to the labor of speaking to the people, and as this is the first time I have been in the Tabernacle since the general conference I expected that I would be under the necessity of speaking; but I was very much strengthened and performed my labor with ease. There was an evening meeting, but I did not attend it.

9 December 1895 • Monday

Monday, December 9, 1895. My health was so infirm that acting upon the advice of my folks I stayed at home all day, and sent word to President Woodruff that I would not be at the office, and he concluded that he would not go either, as he did not feel very well.

10 December 1895 • Tuesday

Tuesday, December 10, 1895 I went to the office this morning and found President Woodruff in good health. President Smith joined us towards noon, he having been at the Bannock Stake Conference.

My son Abraham was in and talked with us about political affairs and suggested that we have a call from Brother Ben. E. Rich. The latter called afterwards and we had a long talk with him about the situation of affairs. President Woodruff expressed to him his view that while he would like me to go to the Senate, still he did not think it would be prudent for me to go at the present time, in view of the feeling that would be likely to be aroused over the event. I talked very plainly to Brother Rich about my position.

11 December 1895 • Wednesday

Wednesday, December 11, 1895. Dictated articles for the Juvenile Instructor.

The First Presidency spent a considerable portion of the day in conversation with Brother Geo. C. Parkinson. The first part of his talk was concerning the Senatorship. He had been traveling through the Territory on sheep business, but had taken occasion to call upon the members of the Legislature. This he had been engaged to do by Messrs. Crane and Trumbo. Before he started we had a long talk with him, and while we could not say to him that he should not go, because we did not think it wise, still we did not like the idea of his going out in this capacity, and we told him very plainly our views. He comes back now and informs us that there is a very general feeling throughout the Territory in favor of my going to the Senate. Afterwards the conversation turned on a subject that had been mentioned to him by Brother F. M. Lyman. It was concerning his being unsound in the entertaining of certain doctrine said to have been taught by Brother Charles W. Stayner in England. It is the doctrine of reincarnation. Brother Stayner had taught at that time that various personages who had lived in olden times were again on the earth, and there has been some suspicion in the minds of the brethren, some of them, that there was an intimacy between Brother Parkinson, Bishop O. F. Whitney and Charles W. Stayner, and that the two former sympathized with the latter in some of his views. It was to determine this that Brother Lyman spoke to Brother Parkinson. A meeting had been held at Franklin in which Brother Whitney had laid his hands on Brother Parkinson and blessed him, and promised him great things, among others, that he should be one of the Twelve Apostles; and Brother Parkinson had in turn laid his hands upon Bishop Whitney and promised him great things; and the rumor that reached us was that Brother Charles W. Stayner had been reviving some of his old teachings which he had abjured in the days of President Taylor, and was holding meetings secretly with some of his sympathizers. Brother Parkinson explained concerning the meeting, and according to his explanation it was a very innocent affair. Upon being asked if he had believed that he was to be one of the Twelve Apostles, he said, yes; he had been promised that, and he believed that the Spirit of the Lord would not deceive anyone, though he did not claim that it would be fulfilled in this life. He entered a general denial concerning believing in reincarnation. He said he did not believe the doctrine, although he had heard and thought a great deal about it. He related a very curious incident. When he first went to Liverpool, having been appointed to take charge of the Liverpool Conference, he found the Elders who were laboring there traveling from one saint’s house to another, and not attempting to preach the Gospel outside and to make converts, and he was much exercised over this. On one occasion he retired to his room and knelt down by the bedside to pray, and he said, while in this position a map was spread out before him, covering about half the bed, in which he saw the houses which the Elders visited and a deep rut in which the Elders traveled. Its depth was about up to their armpits, and this rut or roadway touched at these different houses. He said he wondered why the rest of the people and of the houses were not on the map; but it was suggested to him that efforts should be made to spread out and hold meetings in the various cities and create some stir by preaching the Gospel. He had followed this suggestion with excellent results, being able at the end of three months to make a very good report as to the number of baptisms. After seeing this map, he said he appeared to be lying on the bed on his back, and a very large man came and stood at the corner of the bedpost at his head. He said he was a man dressed in light clothing. He addressed some questions to this man, two of which he could not remember, but the third question he had a distinct recollection of, and it was concerning Peter. This man told him that the person who was Peter in the days of Jesus was Brigham Young now; and when he asked the question, where was Brigham Young when Peter came with James and John and laid his hands upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery? this person said that Brigham Young was asleep at that time - the inference being that his spirit had left his body and taken possession of the old body that was occupied by Peter. We did not ask Brother Parkinson what he thought of this - whether he believed it or not. I regretted afterwards that we did not, because having had in the seeing of the map something that was literally fulfilled and the other being a part of the same manifestation, it might give him ground to think that it was true also. He said when he came to himself, instead of laying on the bed he was kneeling where he had been. If he had any such manifestation, it undoubtedly was from the devil. We had a long conversation concerning these matters; and being interrogated by President Smith concerning the belief of those people who entertained the idea that reincarnation was right, he said that their belief was that they had different probations, and for every probation had a body, and it was said that the Savior had appeared many times, and had a body every time He had appeared. This extraordinary doctrine would convey the idea that men had bodies like suits of clothes - to be put on and off at will; or like actors, appearing in one part dressed in one garb and in another scene in another garb. Whether there is any lingering feeling in Brother Parkinson’s mind as to the truth of this doctrine we were not able to perceive; but he certainly denied quite strongly that he had any faith in it.

We have been somewhat desirous to have this matter investigated in his case and Brother Whitney’s, because it will not do for influential men like they are to imbibe false doctrine and to go unquestioned concerning it.

12 December 1895 • Thursday

Thursday, December 12, 1895 Came to the office early this morning and did some business before our meeting at the Temple at 11 o’clock. The First Presidency and Brothers Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor and Abraham H. Cannon met. The question of employing Brother C. W. Penrose in the Historian Office came up. Brother Penrose has been acting as editor of the Salt Lake Herald for some time past; but it seems that of late he has not given satisfaction. R. C. Chambers, who belongs to the majority of the stockholders, and who himself has advanced money enough to be almost the proprietor of the Herald, desired to have Brother B. H. Roberts as editor of the paper, and notified Brother Penrose to that effect, that on Sunday evening next his connection with the paper would be at an end and Brother Roberts would take his place. Brother Penrose has informed us of this and expressed a desire to get employment if the Church had any to give him. The First Presidency had talked the matter over and had felt that the Historian Office would be a good place for him. There is ample opportunity there for him to exercise all his ability as a writer. I have felt for years that our Historian Office was in a bad shape, and that it was doing but little towards preserving or compiling history, the method of conducting it being loose and unliterary. A meeting was appointed for Friday morning of the brethren of the Historian Office, so that the First Presidency might converse with them.

Brother John W. Taylor had written a letter to the First Presidency, in response to a request which had been made of him to examine into the Pioneer Electric Power Company’s business with a view to giving his opinion concerning the proposition of Mr. Banigan, to which I have referred in my journal. In this letter Brother Taylor had made a number of statements which were inaccurate; among others, he had heard that the Church was in debt a million of dollars, and that we were paying 10% interest, and on this and other accounts which he enumerated, he thought it would not be a prudent thing for us to endorse the bonds of the Pioneer Company. President Woodruff was desirous that I should speak to Brother Taylor and correct him on this point of our indebtedness, as he was afraid that he might talk about it and create wrong impressions. After our council, I had some private conversation with him, in which I asked him where he got his information concerning our indebtedness, and he said some months ago he had heard Brother Lorenzo Snow say something to that effect. I told him it was not correct, and we had quite a conversation on the subject. I finally said to him that there had been a great deal said reflecting upon the First Presidency and our management of finances, and that we had brought the credit of the Church very low, &c., it being the evident desire of some persons to weaken our credit and to show us up in a bad light. Now I wished to say to him that we had property on hand enough, that we hoped to be able to sell without trouble, that would pay everything that we owed, speaking generally, to within one hundred thousand dollars at the outside; and as for our credit being impaired we had the best of credit; but, of course, we were pinched for money and it was difficult for us to do many things because of the stringency of money. Cash tithing had almost ceased to come in. But our condition was not near so bad as he seemed to think it was. I told him that President Woodruff had wanted me to speak to him, so that he might be corrected on these points and not go off with a wrong impression and speak to others in that strain. When this question had been submitted to Brother Taylor, he was told that nothing should be said about it to anybody and he was charged with it as a secret. I had heard, however, that he had read this letter which he had written to another party before sending it to us. It seemed incredible that one of the Twelve would do such a thing. I had not mentioned this to anybody, not even to Presidents Woodruff and Smith; but I took occasion before we concluded our conversation to ask him directly if he had read his letter to any person before sending it to us. He said that he had; he had read it to Bishop Burton. I asked him how he could do such a thing consistently with the obligation that had been laid upon him when the subject was submitted to him. I said, it was not your secret, it was ours, and it seems to me that you could not do a thing of that kind without breaking an obligation. He did not seem to appreciate the gravity of the matter as I felt some would have done; for he said that he had talked with Brother Burton about the affairs of the Church, and Brother Burton seemed to be quite familiar with matters, and with this particularly, and he thought there would be no impropriety in reading to him what he had written. I said, no doubt Bishop Burton did have some knowledge of it, because Bishop Winder, his fellow counselor, was interested with us in this enterprise. After I had spoken to him in this strain he said he was willing to take any reproof from me as I was one of the First Presidency. I almost inferred from the tone in which he said this that he was willing to accept my talk in regard to his breach of confidence because I was one of the First Presidency alone. I said I did not want to put this to him as one of the First Presidency; I wanted to speak to him as a friend, as one man of honor speaking to another. He afterwards said that he was sorry he had done it. He had thought that the Bishop perhaps knew considerable about it. In my conversation I talked very mildly and tried to avoid everything that would hurt Brother Taylor’s feelings or that would arouse any combativeness within him. I felt that was the better course to take in this matter. He said that he always upheld the First Presidency in their course and would stand by them. I told him we knew that, and had no question on our minds about that. He expressed great pleasure to find that the affairs of the Church were so much better than he had supposed they were. I told him that we had endeavored with all our might to manage the affairs of the Church in a way that would be acceptable to the Lord and satisfactory to the brethren.

There was a meeting of the Co-op. Wagon & Machine Co. this afternoon.

13 December 1895 • Friday

Friday, December 13, 1895 Abraham was in this morning to see the First Presidency concerning an overdraft which had been drawn by the Sterling Company. He also had a letter from Hugh, which was somewhat encouraging. This Sterling property has been a terrible load upon us. We hoped to have been relieved from the necessity of contracting any more debts connected with it, and that by this time we should have means coming regularly with which to pay the debts already incurred. This has been a disappointment to us.

We had Brothers Franklin D. Richards, John Jaques and A.M. Musser at the office this morning and held a lengthy conversation with them about the affairs of the Historian Office. The result of our questioning the brethren as to the manner in which business was conducted there makes still more plain the unsatisfactory condition of its affairs. We have been spending a good deal of means there in salaries, but it seems to me with comparatively little profit.

14 December 1895 • Saturday

Saturday, December 14, 1895. Mr. Bannister came down from Ogden this morning and met with President Jos. F. Smith, Bishop Winder and myself, and submitted a contract which he had drawn up to be signed by the Pioneer Electric Power Company on the one side and Mr. Joseph Banigan on the other. We examined it very carefully and passed upon it. Two copies were made, one for each party to the transaction. I signed them as President of the Company, and Mr. Bannister signed as Secretary. A guarantee was also drawn up in duplicate, which was sent down to President Woodruff for his signature, and was then signed by myself and President Jos. F. Smith, and made part of the agreement; and these Mr. Bannister was to send to my son Frank for him to sign. We all appeared satisfied with the result of our labor.

After this I dictated to Brother Geo. F. Gibbs a number of letters, one to my son Brigham, one to William and Adah, and one each to Lewis, Sylvester and Willard.

15 December 1895 • Sunday

Sunday, December 15, 1895. At 2 o’clock I attended meeting in the Tabernacle and listened with much pleasure to a discourse which was delivered by Brother Joseph McMurrin, who was called up to the stand from the congregation. He spoke about 55 mins., and Brother Penrose followed for about 20 mins.

16 December 1895 • Monday

Monday, December 16, 1895 President Woodruff and myself had an interview with President John W. Hess and Counselor Hiram Grant, of Davis Stake, concerning the selection of a Bishop for East Bountiful in place of Bishop Chester Call, who has resigned because of changing his residence to the north. Our minds seemed to rest upon Brother David Stoker, the first counselor to Bishop Call, and who has acted a good while as the Bishop.

At 9 o’clock this morning I met with the Sugar Company, and afterwards met with the Board of Directors of Z.C.M.I.

Dictated some correspondence to Brother Winter.

17 December 1895 • Tuesday

Tuesday, December 17, 1895 The First Presidency held a meeting with Brother C. W. Penrose yesterday in regard to his going into the Historian Office to labor. Another meeting was appointed for this morning, when Brothers Richards and Jaques and himself met with us, and we gave our views as to the course to be taken. It was suggested that the Historian Office be put in good working order, so that each day’s labor be so arranged as to gather in all the materials possible for the day as they went along; and after this shall be done, then to take the necessary steps to commence compiling history at the point where it was stopped.

I attended a meeting of the Irrigation Commissioners at the office of Mr. Peyton, in the Atlas Block.

I dictated my journal.

At 5 o’clock I took train with my wife Carlie and our little daughter Ann, to respond to an invitation which I had received from Sister Susie Young Gates to attend a sociable at her house this evening, at which the principal and teachers of the Brigham Young Academy would be present. We were met at the station by Brother Jacob Gates and Sister Holbrook. The latter took Ann to her house to visit her little daughter, and Brother Gates took us to his house. We spent a most delightful evening. There were some 18 or 20 brethren and sisters present, and Sister Susie prepared a most excellent meal. I was surprised at the manner in which it had been done, considering her situation and the little help she had.

18 December 1895 • Wednesday

Wednesday, December 18, 1895 I left this morning for Salt Lake City on the 8:35 train, leaving my wife Carlie to come up later in the day. This visit to Provo has been very pleasant indeed. I have enjoyed myself much better than I expected.

President Woodruff is busy today, it being the wedding day of his daughter Blanche to Brother Joseph Daynes, Jr.

We had a meeting this morning with Mr. Bannister and Attorney Le Grand Young upon the subject of enlarging the capital stock of the Pioneer Electric Power Company from one million to two million dollars, three hundred thousand to be preferred stock.

At 8 o’clock I attended the wedding reception, at President Woodruff’s house, of his daughter Blanche and Brother Joseph J. Daynes, Jr. I was accompanied by my three daughters, Rosannah, Emily and Carol. The affair was a very fine one, a great many people being in attendance. I remained till about 10 o’clock.

19 December 1895 • Thursday

Thursday, December 19, 1895. At 11 o’clock the First Presidency met with Elders Franklin D. Richards, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor and Abraham H. Cannon in the Temple, and after attending to business and offering prayer, Brother Grant being mouth, we repaired to the Annex to examine the condition of the chapel and to decide upon the manner in which the walls should be cleaned, &c. It was decided to paint the walls, and not to put any calcimine on any part of the building.

The First Presidency had a lengthy interview with Brother Mathias F. Cowley. He came to see us in relation to the propriety of running for the office of Secretary of State in Idaho in case his party should nominate him. He said he had been approached a number of times on the subject, but had refused to give any reply until he could consult us as to the propriety of it. We expressed ourselves to the effect that he ought not to refuse at present, but to watch developments and see how affairs shaped, and if it should appear to be all right and no reasons arise that did not exist at the present to make it prudent for him to decline, he then might accept. I had a long private talk with him afterwards concerning affairs in Idaho and the feelings of some of the prominent brethren concerning the First Presidency and politics.

20 December 1895 • Friday

Friday, December 20, 1895 The First Presidency had an interview today with Brother Willard Weihe, the violinist, upon the subject of the Musicians’ Union, the case which brought about this conversation being that of Brother William C. Clive, who has declined to join the Union because it was contrary to counsel. We had a long and satisfactory talk with Brother Weihe, in which we expressed the view that we had no objection to men joining together for the purpose of maintaining prices, if they did not carry this too far. He gave instances of the manner in which one band would outbid another, and where advantage has been taken of this to the injury of the musicians themselves. We could not find fault with their taking proper steps to protect their business and to maintain living prices. Of course, this might be carried too far; but if the sole purpose was to protect them in their wages, so that they would not be reduced to starvation prices through competition, we saw no objection to that. But that which we did object to was the refusal on the part of men belonging to the Union to play with those who do not belong to it and to refuse them admission to their circle. This, we said, was oppression and tyranny, that we could not sanction, and we must oppose everything of this character. Men should be left free to join the Union or not, and if they do not join the Union they should not be treated in that way by members of the Union. Brother Weihe saw the position that we occupied, and he saw too that we could not consistently say to Brother Clive, “Join the Union”, because if we did so we gave away our entire position and yielded our ground.

21 December 1895 • Saturday

Saturday, December 21, 1895 An unpleasant occurrence happened a few days ago at my place. My gardener, Joseph Lawrence, had been told to do something by Brother Wilcken, and he failed to do it. This led to words between them, and Brother Wilcken had struck him and knocked him down. When he told me of it, I expressed myself very strongly and blamed him for his conduct, as I thought it brutal. He has seen for some days that I have been displeased, and he came to me this morning and took hold of me and said he saw that I was not pleased with him and he wanted me to tell him what it was. I told him that I was displeased with his conduct in treating Brother Lawrence the way he had done. He had attempted to justify his action by saying that Brother Lawrence had been saucy and he could not stand it. I told him that no amount of sauce would justify a man in striking another as he had done; that was only justifiable in cases of self-defense. He was very much worked up this morning in his feelings because of my displeasure, and wanted to know what he should do. I told him he knew what he ought to do himself. He said he wanted to talk with me about it. I told him there was no need to talk to me; what was needed was for him to make that matter right. Brother Wilcken is a very devoted man to our interests, and I believe would lay down his life for his brethren, but he is a hot-headed man, and he has not a good faculty for controlling men and getting along pleasantly with them. I have been very much stirred up in my feelings since hearing this, because I think it entirely unjustifiable. He is a much larger man than Brother Lawrence, and the latter was therefore defenseless in his hands.

I was at the office today and attended to business.

22 December 1895 • Sunday

Sunday, December 22, 1895 I went to the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock, in company with my sons Joseph and Preston and my daughter Emily. Brother A. J. Seare was called to the stand and he addressed the congregation for half an hour and I followed for about 35 mins.

23 December 1895 • Monday

Monday, December 23, 1895 I was seized with a good deal of pain yesterday evening and was sick through the night, suffering from dysentery. I felt quite weak this morning; but I had an appointment and I could not very well stay away from the office, as Mr. Bannister had arranged to come down to see about the necessity of having a reorganization of the Pioneer Electric Power Company. I sent word to Brothers Winder and A. H. Woodruff, and they with the First Presidency and Mr. Bannister and Le Grande Young considered this business. Brother Le Grande Young’s letter which he had addressed me concerning our articles of incorporation and their defects and the best method of enlarging our capital stock to two millions, was discussed, and it was finally decided that there should be a meeting held on the 27th, which had been advertised in the papers, and that that meeting should be adjourned until Saturday; that we would go to Ogden and take steps looking to the formation of a new company, or, in other words, the adopting of new articles of incorporation. I endeavored to impress upon Brother Le Grande Young how important it is that we should have our incorporation as perfect as possible.

A press dispatch received today from Washington states that the proclamation admitting Utah as a State would be issued on the 4th, and that this would be in time to enable the State government to go into operation on the 6th.

24 December 1895 • Tuesday

Tuesday, December 24, 1895 At 11 o’clock I went down to the 6th ward meeting house to attend the funeral of the wife of Brother William N. Anderson, a young woman of about 33 years of age, one of the twin daughters of Brother and Sister Hodges. This lady had lived with my wife Elizabeth when she was a girl. Her death was sudden and through childbirth. The speakers were, Brothers John Nicholson, Joseph E. Taylor, myself and Bishop Watson.

25 December 1895 • Wednesday

Wednesday, December 25, 1895 Christmas Day. I invited my children and grandchildren to take dinner with me, and all who were within reach came, with the exception of Frank’s family and Angus J. and his wife. There were absent, Frank, Hugh and family, William and family, Lewis, Sylvester, Willard and Brigham. There were sixty of us sat down to dinner at 3 o’clock. Including our help, there were nearly seventy. We had a very excellent dinner. Sister Davey and her assistants deserve credit for the manner in which it was served. After the dinner, we had musical exercises, some recitations, and afterwards a dance for the young folks. The day passed off very pleasantly. All expressed themselves as having had a very enjoyable time. It was a great pleasure to me to see so many of my family together and to see the union and peace that prevailed in our midst.

26 December 1895 • Thursday

Thursday, December 26, 1895 The sad news was communicated to us this morning through a letter from Brother George Teasdale, in Mexico, that his wife Ettie had died. It is not long since he lost one wife, so that he is now left with two families of children without a mother. He has a wife in this city; but he has not lived with her for years. I do not know that he ever has as a wife, though she is sealed to him.

At 11 o’clock we held our usual meeting in the Temple, there being present, beside the First Presidency, Elders F. D. Richards, H. J. Grant, J. W. Taylor and A. H. Cannon. President Woodruff received a day or two ago a very strong and lengthy letter from General J. S. Clarkson, in which he urged the absolute necessity as well as propriety of my being sent as the Senator from Utah; that the country, through its leading men of both parties, expected it, and he spoke in very strong language of my capabilities and how suitable it would be and what a pledge it would be to the country of the good faith and intentions of the people of Utah, and that I would be the peer of any man on the floor of the Senate, &c., &c. I have heard a great deal of this kind of remarks of late from many sources, extolling me and setting forth the strength that I would bring to the State, if I were sent to the Senate, and that it was conceded I was the strongest man that could be sent from the State or from the West—all of which sounds to me like tinkling brass; for I do know how weak and helpless I am, and that my sole strength consists in the blessing of the Lord. I shrink from occupying so conspicuous a place, and especially to have such ideas and hopes entertained concerning me. In this letter General Clarkson also urged the sending of Colonel Trumbo as the other Senator.

Since receiving this letter, and in fact I may say before he received it, President Woodruff’s mind has been considerably exercised concerning this question. As I think I have recorded in my journal, he told me that he had felt it would not probably be proper for me to be sent at this time, and I had accepted his statement; but today in the Council he explained to the brethren how he had been exercised, and he felt that he had done wrong in yielding to that influence that I should not be sent; for it had been a clear conviction in his mind for some time that I ought to be sent to the Senate, if possible, and the reason he changed was that he had yielded to a feeling of fear concerning the threats and attacks talk there was upon this in regard to the action of the First Presidency and the effect it would have after what had been said concerning Brothers Moses Thatcher and B. H. Roberts. He now felt that it was our duty to do what the Lord wanted and send the right man, whom the Lord wanted, and I was that man.

This led to a good many remarks being made by one and another; among others, I spoke and related how I had received the counsel from President Taylor not to appear in court on the 17th of March when I had given bonds to appear, and that in taking that counsel I thought it would ruin me, because I would be called a coward; and then I described to the brethren how wonderfully the Lord had delivered me from that, and I had come out with a reputation unscathed. This brought out the statement from my son Abraham, who appeared in court on that same day, that he knew there would have been a melee of some kind got up, in which the design was to kill me. He said he had reasons to know this. Remarks were made by others, and then Brother George F. Gibbs said that, with President Woodruff’s permission, he would take the liberty of saying something on this point. He related an incident that occurred with Sister Dye, the milliner, who is now deceased. A great many ladies came into her store at the time I was under bonds, and many of them said that I would never appear in court, and she stoutly denied this and said I would be found there at the time. She felt it was a reflection on our people and on myself to say that I would not appear. When I did not appear she felt very chagrined and disappointed, as it put her in a very bad light on account of what she had said. The notorious Kate Flint, the leading courtesan of the town, was one of her patrons, and she was in when this subject was up, and Sister Dye remarked to her, as she had to others, the chagrin she felt that I had failed to appear. Kate Flint said to her, “President Cannon did just right in not appearing in court; for I know, from conversations which I heard in rooms in my house, that it was the intention, if he appeared, to have him killed, and that was determined upon.”

I record these statements because they were new to me. I knew there was a spirit of murder in the hearts of many men at that time, and Brother Gibbs, who was present in court that day, said he could feel it.

After President Woodruff had expressed himself and the brethren had made their remarks, all of them being impressed with his statement concerning it being the mind of the Spirit that I should go, the question then arose as to who the other man should be. President Woodruff said it was a matter to which he had given no thought. I remarked that I did not wish to make it as a prophecy, or to put myself forward in the light of a prophet, but I had thought that I had seen myself and O. J. Salisbury as the Senators from this State. This remark was called out by Brother Grant having made the statement that he did not have any confidence in Goodwin and other men who had been mentioned. As soon as I made this remark the brethren seized it, Brother Grant particularly, and said they believed that that combination would be the very thing. We talked over this for some little time, and everyone’s mind appeared to be very clear that he was the right man to be selected from among the non-Mormons, if we could possibly bring influences to bear to that end, as he was a clean man and a man of good repute, and one also who had never been inimical to us. His wife also was a very fine lady and had conducted herself very discreetly in all her associations with us. She is a niece of James G. Blaine. Brother Grant thought he could bring influences to bear on Democrats in favor of that. A great many nice expressions were made by the brethren concerning my son Frank and what his future would be if he would accept this with the right feeling. I feel particularly in his behalf, because he is a young man and has worked with wonderful energy and perseverance in political matters since the people divided on party lines, and without any question he has done more than any other man for the success of the Republican party and he deserves well at his party’s hands, and for me to step in and take the position of Senator, which he has earned and deserves, seems too bad in some respects. It is only the feeling that it is the will of the Lord that would cause me to consent to do this. I have prayed a good deal about this and hope that it will do him no injury, but be a benefit to him. The brethren in their expressions felt that it would be. In my remarks I said that I had proved through long years of experience that the best and only course for a servant of God to take was to obey counsel.

It was my turn to pray, and I felt to pray with a great deal of fervor and earnestness upon the subjects that had occupied our attention.

27 December 1895 • Friday

Friday, December 27, 1895 Had an interview with Le Grande Young this morning at the office concerning the Pioneer Electric Company and other matters. I communicated to him the knowledge of our intention to endorse the bonds of the Pioneer Company, and related to him how it had occurred and how clear President Woodruff appeared to feel respecting it. He said he was very glad that I was absent when the matter had been determined to be considered, and that I had not advocated it in the meeting, as he said there was a disposition in some quarters to hold me responsible for ministerial acts of this character. I was looked upon as the one who led in these things.

A dispatch was published in this morning’s papers purporting to be an interview with Richard W. Hart, who was on his way to Georgia from Utah. He is called a prominent lawyer and a member of the legislature. We suppose that it means Charles H. Hart, who has been recently elected judge. The interview, as we believe, is a complete falsification of his statements, if he ever made any at all, and it is calculated to do a good deal of harm if uncontradicted. President Woodruff called it one of the last kicks of the devil. Mr. Vigus, of the Associated Press, came up to see us and we talked the matter over. It is the intention of the Chamber of Commerce to send out a denial of the statement.

Brother Lorenzo Snow is in trouble in consequence of his connection as President of the Co-operative Institution at Brigham City. His son Alviras is the Manager of the institution, which has made an assignment, and some of the creditors have come in and charged fraud. We have felt concerned about it because of President Snow’s advanced age and also the character of the attorneys who have the matter in hand. Brother F. S. Richards has been up, at Brother Snow’s request, and they went through matters in the presence of the other attorneys and made it appear clear that as far as they had gone there was no real fraud, although there might be what in the law would be called fraud.

I dictated some correspondence and my journal to Brother Arthur Winter. I sent two letters to Frank, one on the subject of yesterday’s council, and the other respecting the Pioneer Electric Power Company.

28 December 1895 • Saturday

Saturday, December 28, 1895 Brother John Henry Smith has just returned from his visit to Colorado. While he was in the office, Bishop Preston came in and we had some conversation about business affairs, and in the course of the conversation mention was made about Brother Moses Thatcher’s health, and surprise was expressed that he was able to keep up as he did, considering his emaciated condition. I have never seen a man in his condition going around on his feet. His face looks like that of a skeleton. This brought out the very surprising statement - at least, it was to me - that Brother Thatcher uses opium to keep himself braced up. Brother Preston stated that Seth Langford, Brother Thatcher’s son-in-law, had told him that if he had to go across the street from his house to his bank in Logan he fortified himself for the trip with opium; and Brother Preston himself stated that he had seen him use it both internally and hypodermically. He related to us that Brother Thatcher had employed Dr. Pinkerton, a skilful physician of this city, to give him a thorough examination, which he had done. He examined his lungs, his stomach, his bowels, his kidneys, and in fact his entire system, very carefully and thoroughly, and upon the conclusion told him that there was nothing really ailing him excepting derangement of the stomach, if he would stop the use of tobacco and morphine. Brother Thatcher had expressed his surprise to Brother Preston afterwards that Pinkerton was able by his examination to know that he used tobacco, for he had used it so secretly that it was almost impossible for anyone to find it out; in fact, I never knew, intimate as I have been with him, that he used tobacco. Brother Preston seemed to think that the only way he could use it and keep it from being known as he had done was by swallowing the juice. If Pinkerton’s diagnosis was correct, it would account, at least in part, for the wretched condition of Brother Thatcher’s stomach. Brother Preston talked very freely about his case, and being his brother-in-law, he seemed to be familiar with his condition. He said that he accounted for much of his talk on the ground of his having used morphine. Brother Thatcher is spending a good deal of money in fixing up a house that he has purchased from Brother Miner. Brother Preston says that he believes if he were himself and free from the influence of morphine he would never attempt to do what he is doing with that house. His statement concerning Brother Thatcher’[s] use of these articles accounted for many things that have happened of late years. It is an awful condition for a man to be in, and it would seem to me that it would be very difficult for him to stand up much longer while a victim to this practice.

I dictated some matter to Brother Winter.

29 December 1895 • Sunday

Sunday, December 29, 1895 I attended meeting at the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock and called upon Brother John Henry Smith to speak. He had no spirit to speak and seemed to be much embarrassed, and sat down after speaking a few minutes. Brother Heber J. Grant was called upon then, and he spoke about twenty minutes, followed by President Jos. F. Smith. who occupied about an hour and a quarter. His discourse was an excellent one; but the people were quite chilled with the cold and the meeting was held uncommonly late, his remarks being extended until 20 mins. past four.

30 December 1895 • Monday

Monday, December 30, 1895 The First Presidency had a call today from Mr. Wadleigh, Passenger Agent of the Rio Grande Western Ry., and Mr. Bertrand, who has come here as a correspondent of the Chicago Tribune. He seems like a very pleasant man and is anxious to get a statement from President Woodruff concerning the feelings of the people of the Church upon the admission of the State and the course that will likely be taken by the Church after the State is admitted. We selected Brother Penrose to get up a statement for him such as would be agreeable to him.

We were greatly perplexed today by the demand for $3000 to cover overdrafts which had been made by on the bank by our agents at the Sterling property. It looked as though we would have to allow them to go to protest, for we did not know what turn to make to get the money; but when I thought of the serious consequences which would follow the protest of any draft of this kind, when it was widely known that we were behind and the owners of that property, I determined to make some exertion to obtain the money. I went down and talked with the Zion’s Savings Bank people, and found their funds very low, too low for me to get any money from them. I spoke to Charles S. Burton about the probability of getting a loan from the Deseret National Bank, and told him that I would put a savings deposit book that had $6700 to its credit as security. This is dedicated money that I have in my hands and is very sacred in my eyes. He said he thought there would be no trouble about getting an advance of $3000 on that, and he took the matter in hand and succeeded in obtaining it, and endorsed my note. I felt very thankful and we all felt greatly relieved.

Brother James Sharp came in today and had some conversation about my being a candidate for the Senate. I told him I was not a candidate. He said he understood that, and I supposed he did understand the position that I assumed.

31 December 1895 • Tuesday

Tuesday, December 31, 1895 Bishop Orson F. Whitney came to see us concerning an offer of employment that he had received from the Brigham Young College in Logan. They wished him to take the professorship in literature, and he called to see us whether it would be necessary to resign his Bishopric. He evidently was averse to this, and we felt to let the matter stand for the present.

President Woodruff sent the following telegram to Frank yesterday:

“In conferring with my counselors and apostles on Thursday I made known to them my mind on the question of United States Senator and they at last all agreed with me that our best interests require your father to accept the office if tendered him. I instructed Abraham to communicate this to you, expressing the hope that you will be able to sacrifice your own aspirations and do all that you can to elect him. How do you feel about it? Letters sent on the 26th and 27th to you.”

The following answer to this was received today:

“Your telegram received. I am satisfied. God bless Utah.

Frank J. Cannon.”

Brother Ben Rich called to see President Woodruff and he was very much upset when told by President Woodruff that it was his feeling that I ought to be the Senator. I had a full, free talk with Brother Rich afterwards, in company with President Woodruff, and he seemed to have a clearer understanding, though not any less dissatisfied at the arrangement. He wanted to know what he should do under the circumstances. Should he stop his labors for Frank and say he was not a candidate? I told him he had no right to say any such a thing, neither had anyone else, unless Frank authorized him to do so. Frank was a candidate and ought to remain a candidate till he himself withdrew. I was not a candidate, and I did not want to be put in that position.

The town is greatly excited today, the Tribune people particularly, over a statement which is said to have been made by Brother James Sharp to the effect that I was a candidate, and that I was in the field for Senator; and reporters were after me all afternoon and evening. I avoided them, however, by going to my son Abraham’s for the night. I did not wish to talk with anyone upon this subject, as whatever I might say would be liable to misconstruction.

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December 1895, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed May 24, 2024