The Church Historian's Press

January 1896

Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1896

4 January

Responded to “the proclamation of President Cleveland admitting Utah as one of the sovereign states of the Union”

6 January

“This is the day appointed for the inauguration ceremonies over the admission of the new State.”

8 January ff.

Pioneer Electric Power Company matters

11 January

Celebrated on his birthday by his family

14 January

“I am not a candidate for Senator and could not accept that office.”

27 January

Learned of the “Florence Crittenton Homes for the rescue of fallen women”

11 February

Reflections on President John Taylor’s views about mining

2 March ff.

Pioneer Electric Power Company matters

5 March ff.

Enterprise of building railroads

11 March ff.

Question of leasing “the Church University building to the Utah University”

26 March

“I have thought it wrong to expose our deceased friends to the vulgar gaze of mixed crowds.”

27 March

Concern over “the management and handling of Church funds”

2 April

Consideration of the previous “ transfer of the functions of the Trustee-in-Trust to the Presiding Bishop”

6 April ff.

Matters related to Moses Thatcher and political activities by church leaders

8–10 April

Business in Omaha, Nebraska

15 April

Pioneer Electric Power Company matters

21 April ff.

Meetings in Washington DC

25 April

Educational success of son William

29 April

Railroad matters

7 May

A “dearth of information” “in relation to suitable men to fill various positions”

12 May

“We are in a very bad condition financially in respect to the Sterling mining property.”

14 May

Discussed “the question of where would be a proper place to erect a monument for Brother John Gibbs, who was slain in Tennessee while preaching the Gospel”

18 May ff.

Railroad matters

29 May

Dealing with church indebtedness

5 June

“A reunion of the missionaries who had labored on the Polynesian islands”

18 June

Railroad matters

19 June

Son Frank’s part in the Republican National Convention

9 July

Newspaper clippings that “show the spirit and feeling that is manifested by some of Brother Thatcher’s friends in relation to myself and perhaps others of the Council”

11 July

Depressed regarding son Abraham’s condition and “my indebtedness”

19 July

Death of Abraham Cannon

26 July

Abraham Hoagland Cannon’s funeral

30 July

“I have always been opposed to the sale of lands to ‘outsiders’, where it could be avoided.”

4 August

Bullion, Beck and Champion Mining Company and William S. McCornick, the banker

5 August

“I was greatly surprised at finding a magnificent full length portrait of myself hanging on the parlor wall.”

6 August

Insisted that President Wilford Woodruff “ought to take a trip for relaxation in some direction, preferably, of course, to the sea”

13 August ff.

Traveled west with President Woodruff and party

30 August

“The Lord has spared me to see a great change take place, and to have deadly enemies bow to me to seek my friendship and good will.”

4 September

“President Woodruff was anxious to go fishing, . . . but I have no taste for fishing.”

12 September

Meeting with the Utah Loan & Trust Co. of Ogden

17 September

Resolution that “members of the First Presidency and Apostles, . . . refrain from all active participation—public participation—in politics on all sides of this contest”

19 September ff.

Pioneer Electric Power Company matters

22 September

Distress over indebtedness

25 September

President Woodruff learned that the Lord had called Abraham Cannon “to fill another important mission in the spirit world as a pure and holy Apostle from Zion.”

1 October

Indebtedness of the church

5 October

“The brethren should talk with some degree of directness to the principle involved in the case of Brother Thatcher.”

8 October

The Gardo House and Colonel Isaac Trumbo

15 October

Senator Redfield Proctor said that “our position and the influence that we had . . . might be used for the salvation of the country.”

29 October ff.

“They have used my name very freely in connection with [political matters], and without my authority.”

23 November

Meeting in Ogden, Utah, regarding the construction of a dam and reservoir

4 December ff.

Railroad business matters and efforts to get financial support

29 December

Power company matters

1 January 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 1, 1896

I spent the day until about 4 o’clock at the house of my daughter-in-law Mamie. I was quite sick. I kept secluded here to avoid being found by reporters. At 4 I went over and took dinner with Abraham’s wife Sarah and himself; after which we went to his wife Mina’s, where there was a large gathering of all the children of the family in the evening. My brother Angus and his wife and my son John Q. and his family, and all the young people of our generation were there. There was a Christmas tree, and Charles M. Cannon officiated as Santa Claus, much to the delight of the larger children, but somewhat to the fear of the little tots. The evening was spent very pleasantly, and all seemed to enjoy themselves.

2 January 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, January 2, 1896

I remained at Mina’s all night, and this morning drove to the office. President Woodruff is in a bad condition of health. He had a miserable night last night, during which he nearly choked, he said, for want of breath. He had to return home early on this account.

At 11 o’clock the First Presidency went to the Temple and met with Elders Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor and Abraham H. Cannon, of the Twelve Apostles. Brother Brigham Young made a report of his visit to the Stakes in the south, which was very interesting. It was decided to appoint Brother Platte D. Lyman as President of the San Juan Stake in place of Brother F. A. Hammond, when the latter will vacate the place by resignation, as it is the intention to write to him to do. A motion was also made, upon a statement made by Brother Young, that a President of the St. Joseph Stake be appointed in place of Brother Christopher Layton, whose conduct in the management of the affairs of that Stake, if all reports be true, or even if only half be true, is such that he should be removed. The names of several brethren were mentioned as suitable to take the presidency, but no one was decided upon. Other business items were attended to. The information that Bishop Preston had given to Brother John Henry Smith and myself was repeated to the brethren of the Twelve, at which some of them were very much shocked. Others seemed to be partly acquainted with it - at least, with the manner in which he has used tobacco and strong coffee. Brother Lyman said that Bishop Preston told him some two years ago that Brother Thatcher was killing himself using tobacco and strong coffee, but he had never mentioned it till now. It was felt that something should be done about his case to inform him that these habits were known; but it was felt also (I stated my own feelings very plainly on this point) that under his present circumstances and while he was in such a condition, it was a question whether it might not be improper and inappropriate to deal with him as a man should be dealt with who was in possession of his own faculties and not under the influence of this dreadful drug. I said that in his action towards me I had endeavored for a long time to make allowance for hereditary influence, because I knew that he had inherited a peculiar temperament and disposition. His Uncle John was a man that was rather eccentric, and in fact perhaps deficient mentally; and I did not know how much this might have effected [affected] Brother Moses Thatcher through heredity. It was left for the brethren to handle his case on Tuesday, if he should be present at the meeting of the Twelve, in a manner that the Spirit of the Lord would dictate.

After this meeting I attended a meeting of Cannon, Grant & Co. A demand has been made by the New York Security & Trust Co. for $10,000 on account. We are owing them $75,000, and they wished this $10,000 paid on account, and the rest as fast as we can. I urged upon the brethren again, as I have tried to do several times before, the necessity of some action being taken looking to a settling up of the affairs of this Company. A committee was appointed, consisting of Heber J. Grant, Thomas G. Webber and Thomas R. Cutler, to ascertain where $10,000 can be procured to meet this demand. After my remarks concerning the necessity of our doing something to endeavor to get the affairs of the Company in better shape, two more were added to this committee, consisting of Abraham H. Cannon and Geo. M. Cannon, to take this whole question into consideration.

3 January 1896 • Friday

Friday, January 3, 1896

President Jos. F. Smith, Bishop Winder and myself, accompanied by Brother Le Grande Young, went this morning at 8 o’clock to Ogden to meet in the capacity of a Pioneer Electric Power Company. Mr. Bannister and Judge Patton were also present, as also Attorney Ed. Allison. We talked concerning the new organization and changing the capital stock from one million to two millions. This conversation resulted in Attorney Le Grande Young preparing a paper for all the stockholders to sign with a view to transferring the property of the present organization to the new organization and the assumption of the debts by the new organization now existing against the Company. I was gratified to receive a dispatch from my son Frank, in which he stated:

“Conference with Mr. Banigan perfectly satisfactory for Pioneer Electric Pioneer Company. We have come to definite understanding on all points. I will send by mail today detailed report and instructions.”

We returned from Ogden at 2:10[.]

4 January 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, January 4, 1896.

I called this morning upon President Woodruff and found him very busy finishing up the year’s business and doings in his journal. He collates his entire proceedings for the year at the end of the year. It is remarkable how strictly he keeps his daily journal. One would think that a person at his time of life would become negligent on this or employ somebody else; but he attends to this with as great strictness as if it were a religious duty, though, of course, he does not write with the amplitude that he did in former years.

Colonel Shaughnessy called on me today to beg of me not to commit myself to the refusal of the office of Senator if it were tendered to me. He said he was determined that I should be the next Senator if he could bring it about, and I would be surprised if I knew how many Gentiles there were who agreed that I was the most suitable person for the position. I thanked him for his kind feelings. Long ago he mentioned to me that when the State was admitted he hoped to see me sent back as the Senator. He was in Washington at the time I was refused my seat in Congress, and he felt that he wanted to see that indignity atoned for.

Brother Franklin S. Richards made a lengthy report to me about his efforts in the same direction.

My son Frank telegraphed that he will start for home this evening. I am anxious that he should be here, for the political pot is boiling quite furiously at present.

Word reached us this morning that the proclamation of President Cleveland admitting Utah as one of the sovereign states of the Union was signed by him at 10:03 (Washington time) this morning. On my way up from President Woodruff’s I heard the steam whistles blowing and the bells ringing. It was a most gladdening sound. I felt filled with delight and thankfulness that at last, after long years of effort and patient waiting, we had been admitted as a sovereign state into the Union and are now clothed with the full powers of citizenship. It is a most auspicious and happy event. It seems to give general satisfaction. Certainly the Latter-day Saints, who have suffered so much under the bondage of a Territorial form of government, ought to be the most thankful people upon the face of the earth. Some of our people have thought that we never would be admitted, and have asserted this time and time again. I remember as far back as the early months of 1862 having conversation with Brother Charles C. Rich upon this point in London. The conversation took place in consequence of my having received a summons to go to Washington, I having been elected Senator in company with Captain Wm. H. Hooper, and I was requested to join him there to labor for the admission of Utah under the constitution which had been just framed. Had I then been admitted, I should have been the youngest man in the United States Senate, as I was barely 35 years old. Brother Rich appeared to have no hope that we ever would be admitted to the Union; and a good many men, some of them prominent, have shared in that feeling. To me it has always appeared clear that we never could be the people that the Lord had predicted and we never could perform the work that had been prophesied concerning our upholding the constitution of the United States, unless we should be recognized as a sovereign state. It is a happy day for Utah.

I received the following dispatch from Senator Dubois:

“A rumor comes from the Salt Lake Herald that you will accept an election to the Senate. This surely cannot be true. I deny it utterly and would like direct authority from you by wire to repeat my denials publicly.”

As I was going out of town (to my home) I gave it to my son Abraham to answer, which he did as follows:

“Father absent and out of reach of telegraph. Understand his feelings have not changed respecting Senatorial question. Cannot antagonize his son. Know he would prefer Frank having position to himself.”

5 January 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, January 5, 1896

I remained at home all day.

6 January 1896 • Monday

Monday, January 6, 1896

This is the day appointed for the inauguration ceremonies over the admission of the new State. I drove up to the office and submitted to President Woodruff a draft of prayer which had been prepared owing to his health. He was very pleased that it had been done, because he felt that he was unequal to the exertion of praying in the Tabernacle before such a vast audience as would be there. After hearing it read, he desired that I would offer it for him. I took him down in my carriage to the Templeton Hotel, and he got into a carriage with Rev. Dr. Iliff and Secretary of State James T. Hammond. I got into a carriage, as an ex-Delegate, with the two ex-Delegates John T. Caine and Jos. L. Rawlins. The procession formed, and though I could not from my position see it, it was said to be very fine. My son John Q., Adjutant General of the National Guard, was the chairman of the committee on arrangements, and Brother Robert T. Burton was the Marshal of the day. After the march had been completed, the streets being lined with thousands upon thousands of people, we drove to the Tabernacle and went in. The Tabernacle was beautifully decorated and was densely crowded. I do not think I ever saw a larger assemblage in that building. Acting Governor Charles C. Richards took charge of the proceedings, and after singing, I read President Woodruff’s prayer. Mr. Rawlins read the proclamation of the President; after which the Governor, Heber M. Wells, was sworn in by Chief Justice Zane, and afterwards the other State officers were sworn in. The Governor then read his inaugural address. It was a very well prepared document, though it might be criticized for too frequent and almost unnecessary allusions to polygamy and the steps that had been taken against it. The choir sang several pieces, which were very well received. Benediction was pronounced by Rev. Dr. Iliff. In the evening there was an inaugural ball at the theatre, tickets for which were one dollar apiece. I had bought 17 for members of my family, so that all might witness the decorations of the theatre and participate in the proceedings. I did this desiring that they should have it always as a remembrance what they did on this day. The decorations of the theatre were superb, especially the electrical display, there being a beehive, and the word “Utah”, and the American flag. I think they were the finest decorations I ever saw. No day in my remembrance afforded the people more pleasure, generally speaking, than today It is indeed a great event for Utah to become a member of the Federal Union. We have labored very long to reach this end. No less than seven attempts have been made. Constitutions have been framed time and again. I myself have introduced a number of bills into Congress asking for the admission of Utah.

7 January 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 7, 1896

Brother Elias S. Kimball was in this morning to see the First Presidency. He is President of the Southern States Mission and is laboring very effectively in those States with the large corps of Elders that he has succeeded in getting around him, in warning the people and gathering out honest souls. I am greatly pleased with the energy and zeal which he has displayed as well as the good judgment. He is a man of ability. He is proposing the publication of a periodical and desired to get our views concerning it. We have no objections to his attempting this if he is sure that it will be self-sustaining. He says himself he will not attempt it unless it is. His measures for warning the people are very thorough, and the Lord appears to be with him and his co-laborers.

I had a long conversation with Sister Sarah Pearson, of American Fork, who related to me her circumstances. She is married to a man by the name of Pearson, who has two brothers in the insane asylum, and whose father also died insane; and he, while not insane, is a shiftless and apparently worthless man, so far as providing for a family is concerned. He has no faith particularly either, though a goodnatured man. She is a remarkably intelligent woman, a daughter of the late Captain Hawley; but she is terribly afflicted with deafness. It is very difficult to make her hear even by shouting in her ear, and she is quite a young woman, too. After listening to her story, the manner in which her husband had consumed her property and left her now almost destitute, I took her in and related the case to President Woodruff, and a letter was written to her, signed by the First Presidency, advising her what course to take, at which she was greatly gratified.

I received an invitation from Mr. G. S. Holmes, the landlord of the Knutsford Hotel, to a reception to be held between 7 & 9 this evening, to meet the State officers and members of the legislature. I was present and had a very nice time visiting with them until 9 o’clock, when I returned home.

8 January 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday January 8, 1896

My son Frank returned from Washington at 2 o’clock this morning, and came down to the city and had an interview with the First Presidency, and also with some of the members of the Pioneer Electric Power Co. He brings us word concerning Mr. Banigan’s attitude on this question of buying our bonds and describes everything as being so far exceedingly satisfactory. There are only two conditions now to be fulfilled, one that the engineering plans for the construction of the dam and the laying of the pipe line shall be acceptable on examination by a competent engineer, and the other that the titles and all the bonuses and franchises of the Company shall be examined by a competent attorney. These conditions, if satisfactory, are the only things remaining; the money will be advanced as the work proceeds.

We had the pleasure of hearing from Mr. Bannister that a contract had been completed with Mr. Condict, of the Salt Lake & Ogden Gas & Electric Light Co., by which the latter agrees to take one thousand horse power here in Salt Lake City and six hundred in Ogden. This will insure us an income of $80,000.

A letter was received from Colonel Trumbo, addressed to the First Presidency, of which the following is a copy:

January 6, 1896.

President Wilford Woodruff,

President Joseph F. Smith,

President George Q. Cannon.

My Dear Friends:-

When I review the days of your travail in the wilderness, and retrospect your history, noting that your hardships and adversities even ante-date my birth, I can vividly picture the complete story of your many years of empire building and consecration of your lives to your people, and, for the fortitude displayed, let me mark you as living testaments of men of extraordinary endurance, amicability and faith. Fully realizing what you have done, I wish to say a word to you. Statehood as an accomplished fact has been the dream of eight years of my life – sometimes presenting a somber panorama, and again a most glowing one – and at last the consummation so devoutly sought for has become a reality. The closing scenes of this most realistic drama are about to be enacted, and my sequel is still to be told; but possessed of an equal confidence to that with which you viewed the progress and final achievement of MY portion of the understanding, I now look to you, believing and knowing you will perform your part as faithfully and as perfectly as I have performed mine. The Senatorial struggle will end the strife, and with it comes the final test for the mutual fulfillment of all obligations. That the finale to the agreement will terminate in a complete and perfect fulfillment of all promises, will be determined in a few days; and then I wish to rest with the satisfaction of being one of Utah’s first Senators. This ambition has, of course, been known to you for some time, and as you are aware was incited by our mutual friends and I am glad to acknowledge has been freely consented to and honorably encouraged by you, so now that the time has arrived for you to do your part, I comfort myself with the assuring words you have so often given me.

In view of these facts, I certainly deem this a most fitting and appropriate hour in which to extend to you my heartiest congratulations bringing as it does harbingers of peace, joy and honors to all.

Very truly your friend,

(Signed) Isaac Trumbo.

9 January 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, January 9, 1896

At 11 o’clock this morning the First Presidency met with the Pioneer Electric Power Company and Attorney Le Grand Young, to take into consideration the necessary steps for a new incorporation, with a capital of $2,000,000[.] An adjournment was had at 12 o’clock until 2:30, and at 12 the First Presidency went to the Temple and met with the Twelve, and partook of bread and wine with them; after which they returned for the afternoon meeting.

10 January 1896 • Friday

Friday, January 10th, 1896.

A meeting of the Literary and Scientific Association, of which I am President, was held today at the office, there were present only four members of the Board – F. S. Richards, James Jack and John Q. Cannon, who is the secretary. The university of Utah, through Dr. Talmage as President, was very anxious to get another lease of the building owned by the association which had been erected on the ground belonging to the Latter-day Saints College. He claimed that there was a tacit understanding when the contract was made for the lease which is about to expire that the University was to have a renewal. He appears to have impressed the Chancellor and the Board of Regents with this idea, and letters had been received by me from the Chancellor, Judge Harkness, asking for this understanding to be carried out. On the other hand, the Board of Trustees of the Latter-day Saints’ College had addressed a petition to us asking us to give them the building for their use, and stating how necessary it is that this should be done if the College is to prosper this next school year. Our own feelings were in favor of letting the College have the building, but it is clear that if we should do so the Board of Regents would feel that they had not been treated properly through the impressions which they had received from Dr. Talmage, not one of the Board present today could recall any such understanding as that alleged by Dr. Talmage to have been reached when the contract was made. The Association also is in want of funds to pay that which is due on the Chair of Geology which the Association has founded in the University of Utah. These considerations, therefore, forced us to promise another year’s extension of the lease with the understanding that this would terminate all obligations for any further extension of the lease unless it should suit us to grant it.

11 January 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, January 11th, 1896.

My family had determined to honor my birthday by inviting my brother, Angus, and my sister, Mary Alice, and all my children that could be reached to eat dinner with us at three o’clock this afternoon. Presidents Woodruff and Smith with their wives were also invited. There were about sixty sat down to dinner. The meal was a most excellent one and every one enjoyed it to the utmost. After the dinner, all assembled themselves at what we call the farm house and a program of exercises by the children was carried out. Abram was the master of ceremonies. Frank made the opening address; there was music by the mandolin Glee <Guitar> Club; John Q. read a paper concerning the old home of the Cannons, and gave many very interesting particulars about it, the estate has been in possession of the family about three hundred years, and is now owned by an older branch than ours. He described his and Abram’s visit to the place, and how beautiful a place it is. The then owner, John Cannon, they knew to be a Cannon by the resemblance between myself and him, and he told them that he knew they were Cannons. My daughter Mary Alice also read a sketch concerning the reception of the Gospel by my parents and the particulars of my mother’s burial in the ocean, and other things. There was a parasol dance by my grandchildren, the girls, that was very interesting. A quartette also created much laughter, which was sung by two of my little boys and two of my grandsons. Another performance was the bootblack brigade, in which all the little boys participated, sons and grandsons. Emily and Carol both sung, and the club played some fine selections. The event of the evening, however, and which took me greatly by surprise, was an address by Abraham, in which he presented me in behalf of my wives and children with a very handsome gold repeating watch, which strikes the hours and the quarters. In this gift my family had anticipated a thought I had often indulged in, that if I were well enough off I would like to purchase just such a watch, it is so convenient in the night, but I had no idea that any one would think of making me so costly a present. The evening passed off most delightfully. Presidents Woodruff and Smith and my brother Angus all making remarks. President Woodruff was led to make great promises to me and my posterity. To me privately he said that he did not know another man in the Church so favored as I am in my family. We all separated feeling that the occasion had been a most interesting and happy one. I was deeply impressed with the kindness and consideration which my family had shown to me.

12 January 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, January 12th, 1896.

Bro. Wilcken accompanied me in my buggy this morning to West Jordan. We held meeting with the saints at 12 o’clock. The house was quite well filled. Two missionaries, Bro. Schoenfeld and Woods, occupied about half an hour, and I spoke the remainder of the time. I did so with a good deal of plainness. The Bishop and Counselors expressed their pleasure at what I had said, for they remarked it was just what the people needed.

13 January 1896 • Monday

Monday, January 13th, 1896.

I was waited upon this morning at the office by three members of the Legislature, A. O. Smoot, A. J. Evans and [blank] Larsen. They came to me for the purpose of learning whether a man known as Tug Wilson, a member of the Legislature from Utah County, had told the truth to Bro. Smoot when he had said that I thought frauds had been committed in his election, and other particulars which he had communicated as coming from me. I informed them that I had had no conversation whatever with Mr. Wilson upon any such subject. I had never met him except at the Inauguration Ball, when he introduced himself to me and a few remarks were exchanged, but nothing of the character of which Bro. Smoot had heard.

Bro. John Henry Smith was desirous to get some expression from me as to where I stood politically, and wrote me a letter desiring me to answer it in writing, as statements which he had made concerning this had been desired in writing.

14 January 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 14th, 1896.

First Presidency listened to correspondence this morning. I afterwards had an interview with my sons Frank and Abraham on the political situation. While they are yet in the office Presidents Woodruff and Smith and Bro. F. M. Lyman and my brother Angus joined in the conversation. It became evident to Presidents Woodruff and Smith that if my name were allowed to go before the caucus it might lead to an adverse vote being cast against me and might bring discredit upon me. It is the intention we understand for the Republicans to hold this caucus this evening. The brethren seemed to think that I ought to publish something to relieve me from the danger of such adverse action. I suggested before doing so I would like to know more about the situation than we did then. Frank told us that he is assured that there were at least thirty seven votes which would be cast for him out of the forty three, which the Republicans had in both houses. It would only require twenty two to make his election certain. Bro. Lyman and my brother Angus and Abraham were therefore appointed to go out and ascertain as well as they could what the exact situation is. They returned, and made such a report that the brethren were satisfied that a card ought to be published. I told President Woodruff I would do whatever he and President Smith and the other brethren thought best. They were all clearly in favor of my publishing something, and I wrote the following open letter:


Salt Lake City,

January 14, 1896.

My name has been freely used of late in connection with the office of United States Senator for the new State of Utah; but my position on this subject has been so well understood by my intimate friends, I have not thought it necessary to say anything concerning it to the public. Now, however, I learn that in consequence of the activity of some of my friends urging my qualifications as entitling me to election for that high office, there is much uncertainty prevailing as to my attitude, and that this uncertainty may lead to divisions in the party ranks. This, in my view, would be most unfortunate; for the Republicans of this State, after a well-fought contest, which was fairly and honorably won, carried the State, and are fully entitled to the fruits of their great victory. That party, according to all the rules of honorable political usages, ought to elect the men of its choice to represent it in the Senate of the United States, and any division that would prevent this would be deplorable. I cannot, therefore, in the remotest degree contribute to division by allowing my name to appear as a candidate for United States Senator. I have stated this repeatedly to my friends, and I now state it to the public, that there may be no longer any uncertainty upon the question. I desire in this public manner to say to all my friends, and especially to those who have been so kind as to express themselves in favor of my being elected to the United States Senate, that I am not a candidate for Senator and could not accept that office.

George Q. Cannon.

After this Col. Trumbo called to see us, but as I was very busy he had more conversation with Presidents Woodruff and Smith than with myself. As we knew that he intended to see us, we thought it proper, before granting him an interview to see Bishop Clawson and to learn from him his views as to the rightfulness of Col. Trumbo’s statement, which he had made in a letter to us that we had encouraged him in his aspirations to be a United States Senator from Utah. As this letter may be interesting as a matter of history, I append a copy herewith.<**>

<**This letter is inserted under date of January 8th, – on page 6.>2

Bishop Clawson’s recollection agreed with mine on many points, in fact, upon everything that I stated concerning all that had taken place upon this subject, excepting one, and that was that in a conversation which we had had at the Hoffman House, New York, when Col. Trumbo had come up from Washington to say what would be done by certain parties for the admission of Utah as a State, if they could be assured that two Republican Senators would be elected and the selection of these Senators to be left to Gen. J. S. Clarkson that Col. Trumbo and myself were named as the Senators by Gen. Clarkson. This is not my recollection. On the contrary, Bishop Clawson and myself had several times talked about what Col. Trumbo expected in return for his service he was rendering Utah, and Bishop Clawson had told me after the first conversation that he had satisfied himself that Col. Trumbo expected no political preferment from us. My recollection also is that the suggestion that he should be a Senator was never made in my hearing until after the enabling act was passed.

We had a call today from Mr. Ed. Dickinson, Manager of the Union Pacific Railroad, and Mr. Burley, the Agent who resides here.

15 January 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 15th, 1896.

I did not feel well after writing the open letter yesterday and my thoughts troubled me during the night and this morning. It is the first time in my life that I remember where I have failed to carry out what I was told was the will of the Lord, and I have not felt pleasantly about it. My consolation, however, is that I have done everything which one in my position could do to carry this out and that my failure to do so has not been my fault. It consoles me, too, to know that in publishing this letter I have done that which my brethren desired me to do, especially President Woodruff.

The Republican caucus met last night, and Frank went through with a whirl, his nomination being carried by acclamation. Judge C. W. Bennett and Arthur Brown were the candidates for the other Senatorship. The former and his friends were very confident that he would carry off the honor, but he only secured nineteen votes as against Arthur Brown’s twenty four.

Hon. C. E. Allen, member of Congress from this State, wrote to us in quite a nice spirit suggesting that our attorneys prepare a bill for the restoration of the church real estate which had been taken possession of by the government. Bro. F. S. Richards, I will say, was instructed to prepare such a bill.

16 January 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, January 16th, 1896.

I took my wife Caroline to her mother’s this morning. She is very sick and the family have thought that she might pass away. In my administration to her, of the ordinance of laying on of hands a day or two ago, I felt led to say encouraging things to her, and I have strong hopes of her recovery, though she is very low.

A meeting of the Co-op. Wagon and Machine Company was held at our office this morning. The showing made by the Secretary for the Company was a very good one, a special dividend of two per cent. was declared.

At 11 o’clock the First Presidency, with President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith met as usual in the Temple. The subject of the proper manner to call missionaries and the necessity of the Twelve taking active interest in their selection and seeing that suitable men were called was conversed upon. President Lorenzo Snow was mouth in prayer. I had invited the First Presidency and the Twelve, the three Presiding Bishops and the Presidency of this Stake of Zion with their wives to take dinner with my family and myself at our home today at three o’clock. Fifty eight persons sat down to dinner[.] Of the invited guests outside of my family there were President Wilford Woodruff and wife, President Jos. F. Smith and two wives, Lorenzo Snow and wife, Franklin D. Richards, his wife was detained by the sickness of a great grandchild, Brigham Young and wife, F. M. Lyman and wife, and Sister Heber J. Grant, whom he brought, Bro. Grant being absent at his aunt’s funeral at St. George, George Teasdale and wife, Abraham H. Cannon and three wives, Bishop Preston and wife, Bro. Burton and wife were kept away by his sickness; Bishop John R. Winder and wife, my brother Angus and wife and his two counselors, Joseph E. Taylor and C. W. Penrose and each with a wife; Bro. C. H. Wilcken also sat down with us. Of my own family there were my sons John Q., Frank J., and Angus J. and their wives; my daughter Mary Alice and her husband, Lewis M. Cannon; the remaining places were filled by my larger children. The dinner consisted of six courses and was excellently cooked, well served, and every body seemed to enjoy the meal. After dinner our guests were entertained at the farm house by singing and recitations and music from the mandolin and guitar club. I enjoyed the visit exceedingly, and everything passed of[f] very delightfully.

17 January 1896 • Friday

Friday, January 17th, 1896.

Busy round the office all day, dictated my journal to Miss Bertha Irvine.

Bro. Charles S. Burton and my son Abraham arranged for a loan for me of $9,000. with interest at eight per cent for four months. I placed as security Z. C. M. I. stock (142 shares) belonging to my wives Sarah Jane, Eliza and Martha. This loan is for the purpose of investing in Grand Central. Bro. C. S. Burton has been very kind in arranging this affair for me.

18 January 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, January 18th, 1896.

At the office with Presidents Woodruff and Smith, attending to various matters of business. We are very much perplexed and feel greatly burdened with calls upon us for money to meet the drafts sent to us from the Sterling. It will be a great relief when the business of this company can be carried on without falling back upon us for support.

We listened to the case of a Bro. Peterson, from Riverside, who complained that the President of this Stake would not endorse his recommend for the purpose of getting married in the Temple. We listened to all that was presented to us by himself, the Bishop of his ward and my brother Angus, the President of the Stake, and decided that we thought it would be better for his recommend to be signed.

The case of Bro. Webster, of Franklin, was heard by us today. He is an old acquaintance of mine, having known him for thirty-six years. At that time he lived in Boston when I was presiding over the churches in the Eastern States. His case is a painful one. He is a very worthy man, but he has a wife who is an unbeliever though a member of the church. She has no faith and she makes his life miserable.

Brother Brigham Young went down home with me this evening with the intention of staying all night that we may start together tomorrow to Provo, to take part in the quarterly conference there.

19 January 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, January 19, 1896

Brother Wilcken took us to the station and we just reached in time to get on the cars while they were in motion. Brother Reed Smoot met us at Provo and carried us to his house, where we had our clothes cleansed from the mud that had splashed upon us, the roads being exceedingly muddy. We found Brother George Teasdale, one of the Apostles, and Brother Edward Stevenson, one of the Seven Presidents in meeting, and we were informed it was the largest attendance on Saturday that had been in Provo for many years. Brother Brigham Young occupied about an hour this morning, and I followed him for about 30 minutes. I was very much interested in his remarks. We took dinner with Brother Reed Smoot. In the meantime, however, we held a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Brigham Young Academy. Brother Edward Partridge has been quite sick and was unable to attend the meetings yesterday or this morning, but he was with us this afternoon. The authorities were presented and business was attended to, and then I spoke for about an hour, and felt considerable freedom. Brother Brigham and myself returned to the City this evening, reaching at 5:25. Brother Teasdale had an appointment at American Fork, and Brother Stevenson stopped to speak to the students of the Academy.

20 January 1896 • Monday

Monday, January 20, 1896

The First Presidency were at the office, and we had the sad intelligence communicated to us by cablegram that Elder J. A. Ott, who had been sent on a mission to Germany, had died. Brother Lund merely telegraphed the fact, without any particulars.

We had conversation with my son Frank about our business affairs.

21 January 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 21, 1896

There has been considerable agitation in the city for a number of days over the case of Arthur Brown, who received the caucus nomination for United States Senator. Dr. Iliff, a Methodist preacher, has published a card openly attacking him and calling upon the members of the Legislature to reject him as unworthy of the position, and that he would disgrace Utah, &c. Other preachers have sympathized with Iliff in this attack, and some persons appear to be taking advantage of this and trying to break the caucus decision, so as to have other names presented. The Legislature met at 2 o’clock this afternoon and the Republicans voted unanimously for Frank J. Cannon, and with two exceptions gave the same vote to Arthur Brown. The Democrats in both houses voted for Moses Thatcher and J. L. Rawlins. After the election each of the Senators made a speech.

The First Presidency spent the forepart of the day with Frank J. Cannon, N. W. Clayton, James Jack and Abraham H. Cannon, and it was arranged that they with the First Presidency should form a co-partnership to manage the properties that we have, and the management of which at the present time is such a burden to us. An agreement was drawn up and submitted to us, which was acceptable to all of us. This arrangement, if it can be carried out, will prove an immense relief to us, especially to President Woodruff. I have felt that something had to be done to relieve us from our burdens, or we would be apt to sink under them. The strain upon us has been exceedingly heavy. I have had to resort to a number of shifts to raise money for us to carry out some of our affairs, and I have strained my credit to the very uttermost. Fortunately – and thanks be to the Lord for it! – I have been able to obtain the necessary relief in each emergency. But we are so engrossed with our duties as the First Presidency that we cannot possibly, without neglecting them, attend to this business as it should be attended to to bring financial relief. This committee which is now appointed, consisting of Frank J. Cannon, Nephi W. Clayton and Abraham H. Cannon, feel sanguine that they can bring us relief by the proper management of the affairs that we have. Abraham is made secretary and treasurer, and it is suggested that he relieve himself from all business connected with the papers, and that he devote himself to this. I trust it will prove satisfactory and result in good. Frank being in the east will be able to do business there that will require attention, especially in arranging for funds and placing securities in a proper manner.

22 January 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 22, 1896

We mentioned yesterday to this committee referred to above that we wished there could be some way to bring us relief connected with the Sterling mining properties in Nevada. Acting upon this remark, they came to President Woodruff and myself this morning with a proposition which, after listening to, we accepted. President Smith was not in at the time; but afterwards President Woodruff and myself repeated the proposition and he accepted of it. There are 4000 shares of stock in the Sterling Company which under the readjustment had been left in our hands. I had urged that something of this kind should be done, because there were brethren who had done us favors and who had worked for us that had received no remuneration whatever at our hands. Brothers Clayton and Jack had been very liberal in their treatment of us in connection with the Salt Lake & Los Angeles Ry., the Salt Company and the Saltair Beach Company, and I felt that we ought in some manner to compensate them, if we could, for their kindness. Frank also had done us a good deal of business in the east, for which he had received nothing; and Abraham had been working now for weeks and months for us without receiving anything. Therefore, the proposition from these four to take hold of the Sterling property on condition that we divide the 4000 between them, giving them each 1000 shares, met our approval. We all thought it was a good thing for us and would relieve us from a great responsibility that now rests upon us. They ask that we shall stand under the load of debt that has already been created until they can get the property into shape, and that they will bend all their energies towards relieving us from that burden of debt, and all the compensation they will get will be these shares of stock. What is needed there is somebody that understands the business. We have proved to our entire satisfaction that however good and well-meaning our brethren are who are interested in this property with us, they do not have the necessary skill, and we are losing money and have been all the time through this. This combination that will now take hold of it will take immediate steps to secure a skilled superintendent and mill man to handle the property as it should be.

I had a very satisfaction [satisfactory] conversation with my son Frank in private this afternoon. I felt it my duty as his father to give him counsel as to the course which he should pursue and to warn him against dangers that I thought he might be exposed to. The interview appeared very satisfactory to him, as it was to myself also. He requested President Woodruff and myself to set him apart and bless him for his labor. Brother Teasdale and my son Abraham happened to be in the office, and we called them to join us. At President Woodruff’s request, I was mouth, and felt very strongly impressed to bless him. He wept like a child, and I trust he will live so as to receive the fulfillment of the blessing. He left this afternoon for Ogden, and will leave, with his wife and daughter Rosannah, tomorrow morning for Washington.

Judge Wm. H. King came in to see the First Presidency concerning removing to this city to live. He is offered a partnership with Judge Henderson and Arthur Brown. President Woodruff and myself saw no objection to his moving here, although he is a member of the High Council of Utah Stake. Judge King has manifested a very good spirit and he is disposed to honor the Priesthood and to do all that he can to build up Zion. He said he would like us to call upon him at any time for any service that he could do; he was at our disposal.

23 January 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, January 23, 1896

Dictated correspondence and journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

At 11 o’clock President Woodruff and myself met at the Temple with President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, Geo. Teasdale and A. H. Cannon, of the Twelve Apostles. After attending to some business, Brother Brigham Young offered prayer.

President Joseph F. Smith has gone with two of his daughters to the east, for the purpose of placing them in a kindergarten training establishment, so that they may be qualified to train normal teachers. He expects to be absent about two weeks.

24 January 1896 • Friday

Friday, January 24, 1896

Brother Brigham Young stopped at my house last night, with the intention of our going together to Provo this morning to attend a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Brigham Young Academy. We reached there before 10 o’clock and were met at the station by Brother & Sister Gates and were carried to the Academy, where we shared in the exercises with the pupils, Brother Brigham and myself making addresses to them. We held a Board meeting and attended to some business, after which we took dinner at Brother Gates’.

I called upon Sister Smoot, the widow of the late President A. O. Smoot, and paid my respects to her and the family.

We also called upon Brother & Sister Holbrook. He was not at home, but we met him afterwards at the station.

We returned to the city in the evening.

25 January 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, January 25, 1896

There was a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Company, at which considerable business was transacted. Brother Le Grand Young was present as attorney. Papers were forwarded to my son Frank and to Mr. Banigan. I wrote a letter to Mr. Banigan, explaining matters to him.

President Woodruff and myself had a conversation today with Brother Geo. O. Pitkin, Bishop of Millville, who came in accompanied by Brother John W. Taylor to talk about the situation of lands in Cache Valley which had been sold by the Trustees of the Brigham Young College to settlers. Bishop Preston happened to be in at the time. The statement of the condition of those who have purchased there is in some respects one to create sympathy. They bought the land at a high price, and they find themselves unable to pay for it. We could not see, however, that we as the Presidency of the Church could do anything in the matter. Bishop Preston argued from the standpoint of the Trustees of the College, he being one of them, and he could give no hope that they could do anything for their relief. This business is a cause of a great deal of feeling, we understand, among the people of Cache Valley, especially those who have bought the land.

26 January 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, January 26, 1896

I went to the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock. Brother Milton Bennion, who had been on a mission to New Zealand and who had returned home by way of Palestine, in this way circumnavigating the globe, was called upon to address the congregation. He gave a recital of some of his travels, but confined his remarks to his visit to Palestine. He spoke very interestingly for about 20 minutes, and I think everyone would have been pleased if he had continued longer. Brother Heber J. Grant followed him and spoke a little over half an hour in a most spirited and interesting manner. He ceased speaking at about 3:13, and although it was early in the afternoon I felt that his remarks were of such a nature that it would be a pity to disturb them or weaken their force by drawing the people’s minds from them by anyone else speaking; so after the closing exercises the meeting was dismissed.

27 January 1896 • Monday

Monday, January 27, 1896

A Mr. Crittenton, accompanied by a Mr. Morton, called at the office on Saturday afternoon after President Woodruff had left, in company with my brother Angus, and I had an interview with them. They wished to obtain the Assembly Hall or the Tabernacle for the purpose of laying before the people their scheme for the rescue of fallen women. Mr. Crittenton is a man of wealth who has devoted himself now for some years to the organizing of what he calls Florence Crittenton Homes for the rescue of fallen women. It seems his attention was called to this some years ago, after the death of a little girl of his named Florence, by meeting on one occasion a fallen woman and telling her to go and sin no more. The thought occurred to him when he told her this, Where should she go? The world turn their backs upon all such persons, and they were compelled, sometimes against their wish, to resort to a sinful life in order to make a living at all. He had been converted, it seems, after the death of his child, and had devoted his wealth since that time to the purpose. Mr. Morton, who accompanied him, is also a man who has been a great sinner, according to his own statement, but who has turned from his sins and is endeavoring to lead a life that shall benefit his fellow creatures. I made an appointment for them to meet us this morning at the office, and I invited some of the Twelve to be present. Mr. Morton called this morning without Mr. Crittenton. After hearing a statement from him concerning the purpose of the organization, we consented for them to occupy the Assembly Hall on Wednesday evening, and if necessary they could have the Tabernacle if there would be a sufficient number of people. We also consented for subscriptions to be taken up among the people. We were averse to the idea of having a collection, as it is contrary to our custom; but after hearing Mr. Morton’s explanation, we all consented to it. There were present, beside President Woodruff and myself, Elders F. D. Richards, H. J. Grant and A. H. Cannon, of the Twelve, and Angus M. Cannon and C. W. Penrose, of the Presidency of the Stake. Mr. Morton’s relation to us of his own experience was one of the most interesting I ever listened to. He had been a slave of alcoholic stimulants for years. He had made repeated attempts to reform, and had made use of everything he could hear of to enable him to conquer this habit; but he sank lower and lower. He was a member of the Stock Exchange in Chicago, and as he found alcohol hurt his business, he had resorted to morphine, and became a complete slave to both morphine and liquor. While in Pittsburgh on one occasion he made up his mind to destroy himself, and his narrative of how he was saved was almost thrilling. It was by the power of faith, it seems, that he was rescued from these habits. He says that he took nothing, only turned to the Lord and threw himself upon God’s mercy, and he was able, without any artificial aid, to free himself from the alcohol and morphine habit. We thought this one of the most marvelous statements ever made, because from all we have heard respecting morphine it is next to impossible for any human being to overcome the habit; but he declares solemnly that he did overcome this habit and that of drinking, and had been master of himself now for several years. His sincerity none of us questioned. We had a very interesting conversation with him. I gave him some of our views and our practices in connection with the other sex; explained to him our position in regard to plural marriage, &c.

28 January 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 28, 1896

At the office. Busy with various matters.

29 January 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 29, 1898

The First Presidency being frequently applied to by members of the Legislature and others upon the subject of legislation, which is felt to be exceedingly important at the present juncture, we find ourselves in such a position that we cannot give such counsel as the exigency demands. It has occurred to me, therefore, that it would be well to have the brethren who have questions of this character to ask, whether inside or outside the Legislature, referred to some brethren of experience who will be able to answer them intelligently and give them counsel upon these important subjects. There is one thing that we feel very much impressed with, especially President Woodruff, and that is that taxation should be kept down and everything done to bring this about. Having these objects in view we sent for Brother Geo. M. Cannon, President of the Senate, this morning to converse upon this subject, and a number of names were mentioned of suitable brethren to talk to. F. S. Richards, James Sharp and William W. Riter have all been President of the Council or Speaker of the House; William H. King has been a member of the Legislature; J. M. Tanner is a clear-headed man, and all these names were mentioned as suitable for this purpose.

We had a long conversation today with Brother Job Pingree about a difficulty which had occurred years ago between himself and his son-in-law, Nathan Tanner. Brother Pingree was very anxious to have the case reviewed, and seemed to be determined in his feelings to have this done if it were possible. I talked very plainly to him, and several of us joined in expressing our feelings as to how inadvisable it would be to revive this controversy – one of the most unpleasant cases that the First Presidency ever had before them. After considerable conversation, he finally agreed to take counsel that was given him on this point.

I have not felt well for several days. I came up to the office this morning feeling quite unwell, and was seized with one of the most severe pains in my bowels I ever felt. It seemed to me I would faint, so deathlike was the sickness. Brothers Brigham Young and John Henry Smith administered to me and I felt quite relieved.

30 January 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, January 30, 1896

We held our council to-day as usual. There were present, President Woodruff and myself, President Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor and A. H. Cannon. We attended to considerable business, and I had the brethren administer to me, President Woodruff being mouth. Brother Lyman was mouth in prayer. One of the subjects that was up before us was the proposed celebration of Sister Zina D. Young’s birthday on Friday next. Some of us learned, greatly to our surprise, while in this Council, that requests had been sent to all the Relief Society organizations throughout Zion and abroad to celebrate the anniversary of her birth in reading eulogies upon her character and in having a feast, and various other things, and all this had been done without the First Presidency knowing about it. We knew that it was proposed that there should be a banquet at the Templeton Hotel on that day, but had no idea that it was to take the shape which we now find it has. We were all quite aroused about the subject and felt it was liable to lead to great wrong, the idea of canonizing a woman while she is living and extolling her to the skies as possessed of every virtue and creating a feeling of something akin to idolatry. A sketch of her life appeared in the Deseret News last Saturday which I thought to be in very bad taste and altogether too fulsome. We feel that there is danger of our sisters going too far in many directions under the impulse that has been given to them by the franchise being extended to them. A committee was appointed to see some of these sisters about the matter, and I was appointed chairman.

Another subject that was spoken of at the Council was in relation to sisters holding prayer circles. We felt that it was improper for them to do so, and so decided.

Brother John W. Taylor reported that he had been visiting Cache Stake. His purpose in meeting there principally was to see Elder Moses Thatcher, in accordance with the request of the Twelve. He had seen him on two occasions, but was unable to have the conversation that he desired. He spoke severely of the manner in which he had been treated at Brother Thatcher’s, and he reported a condition of things in Cache Valley that was rather painful. He had visited every ward and preached to the people. He said he found a very strong feeling against Brother Joseph F. Smith and myself. The condition of affairs in the Cache Stake is one that has given me considerable concern. There are influences operating there which I regret as exceedingly hurtful, and unless they are checked and a different course is pursued by certain parties there the results may prove disastrous.

After our Council I had a meeting with Brothers Joseph E. Taylor and C. W. Penrose, of the Presidency of the Stake, to learn from them concerning these Relief Society meetings appointed for Friday, and afterwards had a very plain and pointed talk with Sister Emmeline B. Wells upon the subject, in which I told her our feelings and the danger that we thought existed of wrong being done by the course which was being taken in eulogizing Sister Zina D. Young. I told her we did not blame Sister Young in the least, for she knew nothing of it; but we wanted it checked. There was a tendency to make birthday parties and to get up addresses extolling the virtues of some of our sisters and praising them beyond everything that was reasonable. It was bad taste, to say the least. I asked her when such a thing was ever done in the Church to any of the brethren. She admitted that she was to blame for this. It had been done at the suggestion of Sister Zina Card that her mother would be greatly pleased to have the poor fed on that day and a feast made for them.

31 January 1896 • Friday

Friday, January 31, 1896

I came up this morning prepared to attend the banquet in honor of Sister Zina Young at 2 o’clock, also to attend a ball given by the officers and employes of Z.C.M.I. on the occasion of the re-incorporation of that institution; also prepared to stay in town all night, so as to be ready to go tomorrow morning to Wasatch to attend conference there.

Three of my wives, Sarah Jane, Martha and Caroline, attended the banquet with me. I was seated at the head of the table, beside Sister Zina Young. President Woodruff did not feel able to go. There were about 200 people sat down. All the Twelve that were in town were present with their wives, and the affair passed off very nicely. I was called upon to speak, and I spoke in a tone of caution to the sisters, and felt greatly impressed by the Spirit to say what I did say.

I went to Brother Brigham Young’s house with my wife Carlie and prepared for the ball, which we attended in company with Brother Brigham and his wife Lizzie. It was a very fine affair. I was called upon to speak to the assemblage while the musicians were eating supper, and was introduced by Supt. T. G. Webber, who stated that I was the only living director of those who were members of the Board when the institution was established.

Cite this page

January 1896, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed June 19, 2024