The Church Historian's Press

September 1896

1 September 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, September 1, 1896

It was much cooler last night and this morning than it has been since we came here. I have been disappointed in the climate of San Diego, it has been so hot. But all the residents say that not for years has there been such hot weather here as since we came. The hotel is a beautiful one, but there is not so much to San Diego as I expected.

Last evening had a very interesting visit with Mr. Crosby S. Noyes and his wife and married daughter and her husband. Mr. Noyes and I have been acquainted a good many years. He is one of the proprietors of the Washington Evening Star. They have been stopping here some weeks.

Mr. Babcock, of this hotel, has treated me very kindly. When he learned from myself and wife that we did not like the heat, he inquired where our rooms were, and he told his clerk to give us rooms opposite to use and sleep in, without any extra charge, because he thought they would be cooler. He told me to offer from him a room also to President Woodruff.

We left San Diego at 7:30 a.m. All the Elders came to see us off. We reached Los Angeles about noon, and put up at the Hollenbeck Hotel.

We had a call from Elder [blank] Irvine, who, with three other Elders, is laboring in the ministry here. There is to be a testimony meeting of the saints here this evening and he desired us to attend. President Woodruff and myself preferred meeting with the saints to-morrow afternoon in a social capacity, and we thought such a meeting would be more profitable.

2 September 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 2, 1896

I was out early this morning attending to sleeping berths from here home, also delivering letters of introduction - one to Mr. Pridham, Supt. of Wells, Fargo & Co., given me by Mr. John J. Valentine, President of that Company, and another to Mr. Frank Lowe, given me by Brother Jack. They were both out of the city. Mr. Duncan, Assist. Supt. to Mr. Pridham, insisted on sending the latter word of our being here, as he desired to be advised when we arrived, he having received word from Mr. Valentine of our intended visit. I called upon Henry J. Woollacott, who is President of the State Loan & Trust Bank, and a wholesale dealer in liquors, wines, &c., here, he having sent word, I heard, through President Tanner, proffering courtesies, which, however, I had not received. His mother is here and a widow, and has faith in the Gospel. They formerly resided close to my family in the 14th ward. I hear that Henry has lost his faith, but is friendly. He is very wealthy.

President Woodruff, wife and son and myself and wife went by electric cars to Pasadena, and then took carriage for two hours and drove through the city and suburbs. It is a beautiful place and noted for its orange and other fruit orchards. We had a letter from Brother Jack to his son-in-law, Mart. Weight, who lives here, but he was not at home.

Upon our return to Los Angeles we went to the residence of Sister Woollacott and met with a number of the saints. President Woodruff and I talked freely to the saints for about two hours and gave them considerable instruction. We had the use of Mr. Wollacott’s surrey to carry us to and from the meeting.

3 September 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 3, 1896

Mr. Pridham called this morning and proffered courtesies to us, but as we had to leave at 1:40 p.m. we could not accept them. At that hour we took the Southern Pacific train for San Pedro, and there the steamer Hermosa for Catalina Island, where we landed at 5:20 p.m. The voyage is 37 1/2 miles and the channel was not rough. We put up at the Metropole Hotel.

4 September 1896 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 4, 1896

President Woodruff was anxious to go fishing, in which he takes very great delight. I accompany him because it pleases him to have me take interest in this and to be with him; but I have no taste for fishing, especially on the water when the sea is rough. We hired a naptha launch and Jim Gardiner, a fisherman, and a young man to manage the engine, for $10. We spent from 7 o’clock till 3 p.m. on the water, and I was seasick and good for nothing a good portion of the time, though out of three Spanish mackerel caught in trolling I captured one. President Woodruff was anxious we should secure a Jew fish, which are frequently 400 lbs. in weight; but though we tried for some time on the fishing ground where they are caught we failed to get a bite. The water is from 30 to 50 ft. in depth where they run. We went out to sea where the water is 650 ft. deep and caught a large number of “groupers” - a red fish which, when caught and drawn to the surface, comes up with its bladder burst and its eyes protruding almost out of its head. Bringing it up from this great depth and relieving it from the pressure of the water has this effect upon the fish. The hooks are as many as from 12 to 20 and are baited with the flesh of barracuda or mackerel. One haul drawn up by Brother Asahel Woodruff had six fish on the hooks, and the boatman said he had seen as many as 20 fish come up at a haul when there were 24 hooks. It was fortunate our wives did not accompany us, for the boat tossed about very much, and the boatman complained of nausea.

5 September 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 5, 1896

We have had the sorrowful news of Sister Ellen Clawson’s death. She is the wife of Bishop H. B. Clawson. My wife and myself wrote him a letter, expressing our sympathy to himself and family in their deep affliction.

This being my son William’s birthday - 26 years old - we wrote him and Adah a few lines.

Our party went out in a glass-bottomed boat this morning in the Bay. The view of the bottom was most interesting. The water is beautifully clear and the bottom can be seen to the depth of 50 ft. The grandest specimens of kelp, growing in places from the bottom clear to the surface, mosses of the most beautiful varieties, and gold and other fish of every variety, are to be seen through the bottom of this boat. Caves and rocky grottoes are to be seen, making a grand and fascinating aquarium. The glass has been prepared to give the best effects.

6 September 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 6, 1896

We passed the day very quietly. I took a bath, and we made preparations to leave in the morning.

7 September 1896 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 7, 1896

We arose early, breakfasted, and took the steamer Hermosa at 7 o’clock for San Pedro. The voyage was quite a smooth one, but several were seasick. I felt disturbed and some nausea, but not enough to be really seasick. At San Pedro we took rail for Los Angeles, and reached there at 11:20. I called upon Mr. Woollacott and settled for a dispatch which I had asked him to send for us. He was not there himself. I afterwards called at Wells, Fargo & Co., to see Mr. Pridham, but he was not there. Mr. Duncan was there, and upon my asking him what they would charge for sending me some boxes of grapes home he said they would make it all right and he would frank them.

At 2:05 we took the train for home. The afternoon was somewhat warm.

8 September 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1896

At 7 o’clock this morning we reached Tracy, where we had to leave our sleeper and go into the regular passenger coach to Sacramento. We were detained at Tracy 55 mins. The cars were very crowded. It is Admission Day, and there is a celebration at Stockton, to which the people are going. At Sacramento we remained about an hour and a half and then secured our berths for home. It was more pleasant traveling than we expected it would be; neither heat nor dust troubled us very much.

9 September 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 9, 1896

I had a very pleasant night’s rest last night, though the dust was more offensive than it had been yesterday. President Woodruff spent a poor night. The altitude seems to affect his sleeping very much.

We reached Ogden on time, and changed cars and came on down to Salt Lake. I was met by my sons Angus and Clawson. I found all the family well, and was greatly pleased.

10 September 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 10, 1896

President Jos. F. Smith was in good health, as were all whom we met. There were of the Twelve, Franklin D. Richards, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, George Teasdale and Anthon H. Lund, and they met with the First Presidency at the Temple. We had a very interesting session. Brother Lund was mouth in prayer.

My son Frank saw the First Presidency in relation to the political situation in Idaho. I was compelled to leave before they got through, to attend a meeting of the Bullion-Beck Co. at 3 o’clock.

11 September 1896 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 11, 1896

This is the anniversary of my wife Sarah Jane’s birth. She is 57 years old to-day. My son Frank and wife, Angus and wife, Hugh and wife, and the children at home, are going to celebrate the day.

The First Presidency had a call from Senator Shoup, of Idaho.

12 September 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 12, 1896

I had a meeting this morning with the Utah Loan & Trust Co. of Ogden--that is, with a committee, consisting of F. S. Richards, Matt. Browning and John Watson. The purpose in seeing me was to induce me to assume the presidency of that institution. Abraham owned the control of the stock, and had he lived and his plans had been successful, no doubt he would have swung it and made it an advantage to us in our business operations. The bank holds his note for $40,000, and he had some $80,000 or $90,000 worth of stock. I intimated to them my disinclination to have anything to do with a place of such responsibility; I was already carrying heavy burdens, and I felt that instead of increasing my burdens I ought to try and lessen them. But they were anxious, and gave as their reasons for urging me, that the bank had fallen off in its cash on hand from $80,000 to $34,000, and there was danger of more depositors calling. Of course, if the bank collapsed it would put Abraham’s estate in a very bad condition. These remarks had some weight with me. I told them I would consider the matter, and afterwards sent for John M. Cannon. My son Frank happened to be present when he came, and they both urged me not to accept the position. John M. said that he would rather take all the risk as administrator of Abraham’s estate than to have me put myself in that position. He remarked that they wanted to use my name now because they were in an extremity, but if there was anything good and to be made out of it, he thought they would not be so anxious to have me take hold. I was struck with this remark, because when this institution was started others of the brethren with whom I am immediately associated were invited to join it, because it was thought at the time to be a very good thing, but I was omitted and nothing was said to me upon the subject. Now my name is considered very desirable to give the bank stability and to restore confidence. I was very glad that the boys took this view, because I feel that it is my duty to keep out of these things as much as possible.

I dictated “Editorial Thoughts” to Brother Winter.

13 September 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 13, 1896

I had a very miserable night, suffering from an attack of diarrhoea, which kept me up and down all night. I laid in bed to-day till about 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

14 September 1896 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 14, 1896

I promised Mr. Dooly to see him this morning in relation to the indebtedness of the Church. I attended to considerable business at the office, and then went down and had my meeting with him.

I went to Ogden, in company with Col. Winder and my son Frank. Brother Robert Campbell accompanied us. We went through and audited all the accounts of the Pioneer Electric Power Co. for the month, and returned to Salt Lake.

15 September 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 1896

This day has been covered with meetings. At first there was a meeting of the Sugar Company, then one of Z.C.M.I. directors, and one of the Co-op. Wagon & Machine Co.

We had a call from Brother Abraham Fernandez, of the Sandwich Islands, whose father is a Portuguese and his mother a Hawaiian. He is quite well off and has been very kind to our people there. He has come now to ask us to permit him to get his endowments and do some work for his dead ancestors. His visit is only a short one.

I went down with John M. Cannon to see Mr. Dooly in regard to some of Abraham’s affairs.

16 September 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, September 16, 1896

We held two meetings of the Utah Company to-day, the purpose being to segregate the coal lands from the organization so that an incorporation may be entered into embracing the coal properties, with a view to bonding them.

There was a meeting also of the Pioneer Electric Power Co.

17 September 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 17, 1896

My son Frank came to President Woodruff and myself for counsel after we returned from our visit to California. The questions he asked I felt that we could not answer properly, because of having been absent and being ignorant of the conditions which had arisen, and after hearing his statement I suggested to President Woodruff that we should have a council of the Apostles and talk over the political situation. I had received a number of letters from different parties entreating my active interference in political matters. Letters and dispatches from Senator Elkins, letters from Senator Redfield Proctor, a long letter from Mr. George Barclay Moffatt, and a long letter from Senator Teller, all required something from me as to my own attitude and the attitude of the people upon the present political situation. Dispatches had been sent to the brethren of the Twelve, bringing Brother Lyman from the south, Brother Lund from Ephraim, President Snow from Brigham City, and Brother Merrill from Cache Co. President Woodruff had told Frank to invite whom he pleased, and he had invited Governor Wells. While waiting for him to arrive, Frank having gone to arrange about his coming, the First Presidency and the Twelve took up the case, by request of President Woodruff, of Moses Thatcher, and after considerable discussion it was decided to send a committee, consisting of Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman and John Henry Smith, to wait upon him and ascertain from him what he intended to do and whether he was disposed to take such steps as would be necessary to reconcile him with his brethren and be in harmony with them, and to partake of the spirit which animated them.

After this decision was reached, Governor Wells and Senator Frank J. Cannon came in, and Frank made opening remarks, setting forth with a good deal of clearness the situation of affairs. He was followed by Governor Wells. Brothers H. J. Grant, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith and Jos. F. Smith made remarks also, as did Brothers Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards and J. W. Taylor. Brothers Young, Teasdale, Merrill and Lund did not give any expression to their feelings. But we were all united, and the following resolution was adopted:

“Resolved, that we take President Woodruff’s counsel as members of the First Presidency and Apostles, and that we refrain from all active participation - public participation - in politics on all sides of this contest; and that we say to Governor Wells and Senator Cannon that we desire them to use all the influence they can in their party, and to those also who belong to the other party, to use all the influence in their power to reconcile every difficulty that may exist tending to prevent harmony in relation to State matters; and that we all use every influence possible to preserve party unity and restore it if possible.”

Our session to-day was a very long one.

18 September 1896 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 18, 1896

I spent about an hour this morning in company with Brother Orson F. Whitney, who read to me a chapter, intended for the History of Utah, concerning my arrest and events connected with that.

I had an interview with Mr. McKaig, who informed me that he had a desire to join the Church and would like me to baptize him.

I had a meeting with a committee of the Bullion-Beck Co. to consider a claim made by Mr. Herman Bamberger against the Company for 10% of a sale which had been effected through his agency, as he claims, of the store belonging to the Company at Eureka. He claimed that he was entitled, through introducing the purchasers to the Company, to a commission of 10%. We came to no conclusion concerning the matter, though we listened to Mr. Bamberger’s statement and to Mr. Critchlow, his attorney, on the subject.

This evening there was a sociable of the Ward at my schoolhouse. The evening was spent very pleasantly in dancing, singing, music and recitations, and refreshments were served consisting of watermelons and cantaloupes. The evening was exceedingly blustery; a strong wind from the east was blowing.

19 September 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 19, 1896

I spent another hour with Bishop Whitney this morning in going through manuscript in which he detailed particulars concerning my arrest.

I had a visit from Mr. Hilton, President of the Salt Lake & Ogden Gas & Electric Light Co. Mr. Bannister was to have joined us this morning, but the violent wind storm of last night has done a great deal of damage to our works in Ogden Canyon. I fear this will throw us back in our work. Mr. Hilton and Mr. Hayward and myself had a long conversation concerning power. Mr. Hilton’s company wishes to make a contract with our Company for power.

Dictated my journal to Brother Winter.

Afterwards Mr. Hilton and Mr. Hayward came to meet Mr. Bannister, to whom I had telegraphed. We had a long conversation concerning power. I let Mr. Bannister do the most of the talking in the first place. But I was startled at one proposition that Mr. Hilton made and I had to say something. His proposition was to take a few hundred horse power from us at Ogden, and then for us to hold all our power subject to their control, to buy up as they might need. In other words, they were to have the complete disposal of all our electric power because they had taken a few hundred horse power from us in Ogden. I told them this proposition was most extraordinary. We had invested largely in this and had gone to great risk, not only risking our means, but pledging our credit, and for us to turn that over and become mere tenants of theirs was a most extraordinary proposition, one that we could not entertain for a moment. I also told him that we had made the supply of the Salt Lake Company contingent upon what the Company would do with us in Ogden; in other words, we did not wish to make a contract with them in Ogden for power there and not have at the same time a contract made with them for power in Salt Lake City. Mr. Hilton took a little umbrage at this, but when we explained to him the conditions that Mr. Condict had agreed to, to take 1000 horse power from us at Salt Lake and 600 at Ogden, and that afterwards he proposed to take the Ogden power and not say anything about the Salt Lake power. Mr. Hilton appeared to be surprised that Mr. Condict should do such a thing, as he had no authority. Our conversation was quite lengthy, and on the whole I think profitable, because we got to learn each other’s position better, and it was left for Mr. Bannister and Mr. Hayward to try and get up the terms of a contract.

20 September 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 20, 1896

Attended meeting at 2 o’clock in the Tabernacle. President Snow and Brother Brigham Young were in the stand with myself. Brother Brigham’s lungs were affected and he did not wish to speak, and Brother Snow desired me to speak. I addressed the congregation for about an hour and enjoyed the meeting very much.

We had sacrament meeting in the Ward, at which my brother Angus made some remarks, and I followed and enjoyed good freedom.

21 September 1896 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 21, 1896

My sons Sylvester and Willard are making preparations to leave for Boston to-morrow, to continue their schooling there.

22 September 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 1896

I was very much exercised in my feelings yesterday respecting a note for $7500 which had been given by the stockholders of the Sterling Mining Co., and for which 500 shares of my Bullion-Beck stock and 50 shares of President Woodruff’s Zion’s Savings Bank stock were given as collateral to the Commercial National Bank. They have been pressing us for some days to take up this note, and to-day informed N. W. Clayton and my son Hugh that unless it was taken up they would be under the necessity of collecting $17000 which we were owing them, and put the notes in the hands of a lawyer, and our stock would be sold, and we should be involved in very serious trouble. It seems that we have got into such a condition that we can scarcely move, and I felt to say concerning myself that I was a fool, and I felt to confess it to the Lord and to my brethren; for I have been deeply impressed ever since I came to man’s estate, and before, with the folly of running in debt, or placing myself in bondage to any man, and through my life I have been greatly blessed in keeping out of difficulties of this kind. The Lord has blessed me in my personal affairs, and I have tried to keep them in such a condition that they would not trouble me, so that I could sleep at nights. There has only been once or twice in my life that I have not been able to meet every demand upon me promptly. The first time that I now recall was when I was on the “underground”. I did meet it, however, in a short time. A few days ago another demand was made upon me that I could not meet promptly. But at the present time, through going into this Sterling mining business, in company with Presidents Woodruff and Smith, we are seriously embarrassed. I have been greatly favored in helping the Company along from time to time, but it seems as though I had almost reached the end of my ability. This affair with Cannon, Grant & Co’s business have been a serious cause of embarrassment to me and have borne heavily upon me. It is true, I am in debt in other directions, but I have property to meet them, and have been able thus far to carry them along. I look back now and think that if I had said anything in opposition to this purchase, Presidents Woodruff and Smith would have agreed with me; but President Woodruff seemed impressed to make this purchase, and I, though my own feelings were not in favor of this, followed what I thought was his feeling on the subject. The Lord has impressed me all my life with the danger and the bad consequences of debt. I inherit also from my father a great dislike of debt. By a little management, however, we were able to-day to satisfy the Commercial National Bank, and John M. Cannon obtained possession of my 500 shares of stock, which was a great relief to me.

I dictated some letters and journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

Mr. Hilton and Mr. Hayward called on me. The former expects to leave this evening for London. He called to pay his respects before leaving.

23 September 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 1896.

There was a very interesting meeting this morning of the Pioneer Electric Power Co., at the President’s Office, at which all the members of the Board were present, excepting Brother Jos. F. Smith and Frank J. Cannon. President Smith has gone to Baker City, Oregon, and Frank is East. Mr. Pegram, our consulting engineer, was present. The principal business transacted was the examination of three forms of Dam, one a Rubble Dam, another a Concrete Dam, and another a Concrete & Steel Dam. We were all greatly pleased with the latter, and though original with our engineers we felt that it was likely to be very successful. It was decided to advertise for bids for the three different kinds of Dams. As President of the Company, I accepted a franchise for a right of way from the Davis County Court for our transmission line.

After this meeting, President Woodruff and myself went to West Jordan to see Brother Samuel Bateman, whom we heard was very sick with typhoid fever. President Woodruff was driven in his carriage, and I was taken in Brother Wilcken’s buggy. We found him very low. We administered to him. I anointed him, and President Woodruff was mouth. Two of his children also are down with same disease, and Brother Wilcken and I administered to them. I think this sickness probably can be traced to impure drinking water, and I urged upon the family to boil all their water. President Woodruff returned home, and I went on to my farm. I was much pleased with the appearance of things there.

24 September 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 24, 1896

Held a meeting of Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co. I had to leave it for our usual meeting in the Temple at 11 o’clock, at which President Woodruff and myself, President Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale, J. W. Taylor were present. We had a delightful time together, and a good many questions were asked of us concerning doctrine by the brethren of the Twelve.

25 September 1896 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 25, 1896

A meeting of the Deseret News Co. was held this morning, and some business was attended to. As President Smith and my brother Angus were absent, another meeting was appointed for next Wednesday.

I had a somewhat lengthy conversation with my son Hugh in relation to the condition of Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co’s business.

John M. Cannon came in to talk with President Woodruff and myself concerning affairs connected with the Sterling Mining Co., and arrangements were made with Brother Jack for him to advance money to pay the interest on the Clarkson note.

To-day President Woodruff called my attention to a matter that he had spoken to me about while in California. He then told me that he had something to say to me concerning Abraham. I had not mentioned it to him again until yesterday, and to-day he handed me his journal, from which I extract the following:

“While in San Francisco, on the night of Tuesday, August 18th, I was very much troubled in the forepart of the night with evil spirits, that tried to afflict me. Finally a spirit visited me that seemed to have power over the evil spirits, and they departed from me. This same spirit said to me in his communication to me, not to grieve because of the departure of Abraham Hoagland Cannon; for the Lord had called him to fill another important mission in the spirit world as a pure and holy Apostle from Zion in the Rocky Mountains - a labor which would not only prove a great benefit to his father’s household, but to the Church and kingdom of God on the earth. The Spirit of God rested upon me at the close of this manifestation in a powerful manner, and bore testimony to me of the truth of the revelation to me concerning Abraham H. Cannon.”

26 September 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 26, 1896

I kept my appointment this morning with John M. Cannon and the wives of my son Abraham, at the residence of his wife Mina. All Abraham’s wearing apparel was brought forth and divided into three lots as evenly as possible, with the exception of some few articles that it was decided to give to John Q., Sylvester Q. and Angus M. Jr., and a pair of fur mittens for C. H. Wilcken. When they were divided, the wives cast lots for them. I was much pleased that this went off as quietly as it did; for I feared that there might be some disposition on the part of Mina to claim that she was entitled to some of the articles more than the others. There are some personal effects that we did not mention then which may arouse feelings. However, I hope not.

I came up to the office to keep an appointment at the Lion House with the Brigham Young Trust Co.

At 1 o’clock I went to divide the remainder of Abraham’s effects that are in his private room at the Juvenile Office.

27 September 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 27, 1896

Elder Brigham Young had made an appointment to meet with the saints at West Jordan ward. He was to be taken there by Brother C. H. Wilcken. They have been applying to me to go, and this morning they both came around to my house, and I went with them. We called at Brother Bateman’s and administered to him. We had dinner at my farm, and from there went to the meeting house, which was very much crowded. Brother Brigham Young occupied about 58 mins., and I spoke about 35 mins. I enjoyed the meeting very much. We returned home, had dinner at my place, and then went to our ward meeting, where two missionaries spoke. Brother Rodney Hillam spoke for a short time, but complained of being unwell. He was followed by Brother Flashman, to whom I listened with great pleasure. He is an excellent speaker and expresses his views with great clearness.

28 September 1896 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 28, 1896

At 8 o’clock this morning Brother John R. Winder and myself went to Ogden by appointment, and in company with Mr. Bannister we went through a number of contracts, and afterwards discussed various matters connected with the enterprise. After this, we went in a surrey to the Power House and examined it, also the machinery building, which had been blown down, and was much gratified at finding the progress that was being made in the work, and to learn also that the damage had not been so serious as at first reported. We partook of an excellent meal at Mr. Rhodes’ camp, and returned to the city in the afternoon.

29 September 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1896.

I have conversations these days whenever I can with John M. Cannon, who is the administrator of Abraham’s estate. Abraham’s death has left his affairs and mine in a peculiar condition. He had all the strings in his hands and knew exactly what his plans were, and I trusted to him, and his death compels me to examine affairs that I have heretofore paid comparatively little attention to.

We had a meeting of the Brigham Young Trust Co. to-day to consider the report of a committee which had had under consideration the question of the Commercial Street property. This is a question that has been seriously considered a number of times, and to-day it came up for action. There are some of the trustees who feel that in the condition of affairs as they now exist, we should not cling to the present policy of refusing to rent to one and another. The Trust Co. has fought very strenuously and at considerable expense to keep improper characters out of that street, and have kept our buildings vacant rather than rent them. There seems to be a disposition and a determination on the part of officials of the city, so we are informed, to concentrate these bad characters in some one place and endeavor to corral this bad business and keep it from spreading, and Commercial Street is admitted to be the best place in the city for this purpose. The committee to whom this question was referred have taken this matter into consideration and have made the following report:

Salt Lake City, September 28th, ’96.

Hon. George Q. Cannon, President, and the Trustees of the B.Y.Trust Co., City.


Your Committee appointed to investigate the condition of the Commercial Street property and recommend some action in relation thereto, beg leave to report as follows:-

This Company has made an honest and persistent effort to redeem and improve the Commercial Street property morally and otherwise, and has succeeded in driving immoral characters from our property, which resulted in reducing our revenue, materially affecting the value of our adjacent property, and reducing the value of our stock to such an extent that a great many of the present stockholders are threatened with the immediate loss of their shares. While it is true we kept this portion of our property free from objectionable characters, we did not succeed in ridding that block of them. It seems a tainted spot. Thugs, holdups, and thieves infest the southwest section of the block; gamblers, saloon keepers, and disreputable characters, a large portion of the remainder. The block is now honeycombed with corruption and the property in question is surrounded on all sides by the class of people that we have been strenuously endeavoring to keep out.

The City Council and Police Commission are a unit in desiring to concentrate this element upon some central block where there are no residences, and we learn that a movement is on foot to put them on Commercial Street, thus forcing us to either fight them again at a great expense, or submit to the inevitable.

It will be remembered that when we undertook to secure the Post Office for our property, the citizens and press worked against it, because of the immorality that had attached to that street in the past, and that could not be removed.

We, therefore, believe that the best interests of the Company will be served by leasing this property on the best terms possible, with the restrictive clauses in the present form of lease stricken out. We desire to state that this conclusion has been reached after a long and careful consideration of all the circumstances surrounding this matter, and as a last resort to protect the Stockholders from total loss or ruin.

N. W. Clayton.

W. A. Rossiter

Chas. S. Burton

H. B. Clawson,


Spencer Clawson, for one, has been very much opposed to this, as we all have been. I have felt very strenuously about it. But to-day he made a speech to the Board, stating that all the heirs and the family of President Young were very much opposed to this policy, and that he was opposed to it and could not in any manner sanction it. In his remarks he made it appear as if those who now formed the Board of Trustees and favored this policy would be responsible for this condition; in other words, that there was an attempt being made to draw the sustenance of President Young’s widows from houses rented to courtesans, and I understand he has talked this way openly. This, I felt, was an improper view to give of this case. There are many things for which money is needed beside the support of the widows, and I felt that Brother Clawson was attempting to pose as the friend of the family and of the honor of President Young, and the rest were not. Of course, I am as much opposed to any relaxation in this direction as anyone can be. But we are threatened, in consequence of the heirs having sold their stock or hypothecated it, with the appointment of a receiver and the loss of the stock by the heirs who are unable to carry it, and it is said that $10,000 can be added to the annual income of the Company by changing the policy. After all had expressed themselves, some in favor and some opposed to the change, and before the question was submitted, I arose and called Brother H. B. Clawson to the chair, and then proceeded to give my views. I was utterly opposed to any change of policy, because, as far as I was concerned, I could get along. I had invested heavily in the Trust Co. in my endeavor to keep the stock in the hands of members of the Church, because I feared if any got into the hands of Gentiles they would make trouble. I had spent thousands of dollars to do this, and was now carrying a very heavy load of indebtedness and paying interest on money solely for this purpose. I said I was not willing to hear such remarks made as would reflect upon the present Board of Trustees, or on myself as President, to the effect that we were going to rent property, &c., for evil purposes, and that the heirs were opposed to it. I said if the heirs had followed my counsel, they would have kept their stock and there would be no need for this. The result of their action was, the Company was in jeopardy, and I wanted the responsibility to rest upon those to whom it belonged; for if the heirs had all kept their stock there would be no question now about this policy; if they chose to keep their buildings empty, they could do so.

I had to leave the meeting before it was through, to attend a meeting of the Bullion-Beck Co.; but the majority supported the report of the committee. I intend at a future meeting to have the shares of stock which each of the Trustees hold placed opposite his name, so that we may know how much those hold who favor this policy and how much those hold who do not. In consequence of the adoption of this report, Spencer Clawson resigned his position as chairman of the executive committee, and N. W. Clayton was added to the committee.

Senator Brown called upon me and had a short interview. Nothing special took place, excepting the exchange of good feeling and views respecting the best courses to be taken in preserving the State to Republicanism.

My brother Angus called in to see the First Presidency as to whether it would be proper for him to run for the Legislature. After some conversation on the subject Presidents Woodruff and Smith were willing that he should run, but it was suggested that he should not canvass his own stake, but confine his public addresses to other places in the district.

30 September 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 1896

The First Presidency had an interview with Brother M. W. Merrill to-day in relation to a letter written by Brother Edlefson, conveying the idea that he had been deposed by Brother Merrill from his position as assistant President of the Temple to work at recording on books which were three years behind. Brother Merrill disclaimed any intention of interfering with Brother Edlefsen in that respect. There was some conversation also concerning the funds that had passed through the hands of Brother Merrill, he having heard that there had been some allegations made concerning him and his manner of managing those funds, and that he had misappropriated some. It was decided to have some of the brethren of the Twelve investigate the matter.

There was a meeting of the Sterling Mining Co. to-day. Money had to be raised, and they were at their wits’ end how it was to be raised. I was suffering from a cold, but they could not do anything without President Woodruff and myself being seen. President Woodruff said he could not possibly raise any money; he had exhausted his resources. After considering it for some time I told them if they would adjourn for about an hour I would see what could be done. In the meantime I succeeded in raising $3300 and that relieved us all.

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September 1896, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed June 25, 2024