The Church Historian's Press

January 1897

Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1897

3 January ff.

In the East on financial business

11 January

“It may not be inappropriate, inasmuch as I am now 70 years of age, to write a little concerning myself at this time of life.”

28 January

A proposal regarding “a very radical change in our publishing departments”

31 January

Appreciated for his being the means of bringing emigrants to Zion

4 February

Appeal by Dr. James E. Talmage for financial assistance “to attend a meeting of the Geological International Society at St. Petersburgh”

5 February ff.

Power company matters

8 February ff.

Railroad matters

24 February

Talked with his son John Q. “in relation to his management of financial affairs”

28 February

“Celebration by the Sunday schools of President Wilford Woodruff’s ninetieth birthday”

1 March

Celebration of President Wilford Woodruff’s ninetieth birthday

11 March

“The case of the Catawba Indians that wanted to get land on the Uintah Reservation was considered.”

31 March

Discussed question about sealing of children to parents

3 April

Railroad and power company matters

7 April

Preferred not to have a lecture subject allotted to him

12 April

Moses Thatcher and “the manner in which the funds of the Church were handled”

29 April

Meeting with Joseph Banigan

6 May ff.

Was part of a delegation appointed to wait on U.S. president William McKinley

10 May

Spoke on “the effect that settlement on the 24th of July, 1847, had had upon all the arid and semi-arid regions now covered by states and territories”

14 May

Witnessed his son William in the commencement exercises of Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia

16 May ff.

Difficulty of raising money to save his credit

19 May

Attended a meeting of the Union Pacific Directors

28 May

Railroad business

7 June

Parley L. Williams “had expressed himself very bitterly concerning myself”

8 June

A meeting of the Brigham Young Memorial Association concerning the erection of the Brigham Young Monument

10 June

“There is a great prejudice against Saltair Beach.”

15 June

Railroad business

17 June

Operation on son Preston for appendicitis

18 June

Pioneer Electric Power Company business

25 June

Discussed “the origin of the religion class movement”

13 July ff.

In the East on business with Joseph Banigan and others

17 July

Meeting with President William McKinley

25 July

“My desire to see Zion prosper and to see His great cause progress rises above all personal considerations with me.”

6 August ff.

Moses Thatcher matters

12 August

“We have been told very often by the servants of the Lord that the time would come when capital would come to us.”

23 August

President Wilford Woodruff’s daughter Alice visited by an angel

7 September

Report on visit to Soda Springs, Idaho

14 September

Grass Creek Coal Company business

27 September

Problems building a dam “to stop the underflow of water in the Ogden Canyon”

30 September

“I find myself in so cramped a position financially that I am compelled to take steps to curtail my expenses.”

7 October

The charge given to newly called apostles, Matthias F. Cowley and Abraham Owen Woodruff

15 October ff.

Oregon Short Line affairs; cost of bonds

20 October

Business in relation to the Utah Loan & Trust Company

17 November ff.

Response to a letter from Colonel Isaac Trumbo in regard to the Gardo House; Cannon’s appreciation of Trumbo

23 November

Visited by Mrs. Reeder, “the daughter of John Quick, a Presbyterian minister, who is the brother of Margaret Quick Hoagland, my wife’s mother”

30 November

Business with the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company

2 December

Visited by four natives of Hawaii

6 December

Argued that members of the Ogden, Utah, city council should accept the church’s bid to provide electric lighting for Ogden

23 December

Distress over financial matters

1 January 1897 • Friday

Friday, January 1st, 1897.

Nothing particular happened on my journey from Ogden to Chicago, except that I found awaiting me at the ticket office at Omaha Annual Passes for myself and wife over the Union Pacific, and a trip pass for myself to Chicago over the Chicago and Northwestern and return. Brother Spencer had purchased for me before leaving a ticket from Chicago to New York over the Michigan Southern and Lake Shore and the New York Central railroads.

2 January 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, January 2, 1897

I reached Chicago to-day.

3 January 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, January 3, 1897

I arrived at New York at 1:45 p.m. I had telegraphed to my son Frank that I would be in New York to-day, and that I wanted to meet him and Mr. Bannister upon my arrival. I put up at the Hoffman House and found Mr. Bannister waiting for me. I was sorry to learn from him that Frank had been compelled to leave for Washington that morning, he having received a dispatch informing him of the very serious illness of his wife.

I submitted my papers to Mr. Bannister for him to read, as he knew nothing about our transactions with the Big Cottonwood Power Co. I had an impression that he would be prejudiced against having anything to do with that Co., as I have heard him express himself unfavorably concerning the enterprise; but after reading Brother Le Grand Young’s statement and the other papers he seemed to look upon it as a good movement. We talked the matter over very freely. I explained to him fully the beneficial results that I thought would attend the carrying out of the business as we had decided upon it. He was desirous that the matter should be submitted to Frank, as I was also, and I felt that it was important I should see him; so this evening I took train for Washington.

4 January 1897 • Monday

Monday, January 4, 1897

I reached Washington this morning, and was met at the station by Mr. Geo. Graves. I found Mattie in a very low condition. I was pleased that my wife Sarah Jane was with them, because she is an excellent nurse, a woman of good judgment in sickness, and I know she must be a great comfort to them. I had a full conversation with Frank upon our affairs (he looks very badly and depressed), and after explaining everything to him he thought that the move was a good one. He was also of the opinion that Mr. Banigan would look upon it favorably, knowing his disposition in regard to buying up and removing out of the way anything that would be likely to promote rivalry or contention.

I took the train for New York at 12:45. Mr. Bannister was at the hotel waiting for me when I returned. After explaining the result of my visit to Washington, it was agreed that we should suco start for Providence by the first train to-morrow to see Mr. Banigan. Mr. Bannister had telegraphed him about my wishing to see him and asking him to grant us an interview at 2 o’clock, the hour the train arrives there.

5 January 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 5, 1897

We found Mr. Banigan at his office awaiting us, and we spent upwards of three hours in laying the proposition before him and explaining it in all its details as far as I could do so. He seemed to view the proposition quite favorably; but was averse to the diversion of any of the funds from the Pioneer Electric Power Co’s enterprise to be expended on this. Whatever should be done about this by him he wanted done independently, and he spoke as though he would arrange for the whole $335,000 of the Big Cottonwood Co. and have it a separate and distinct arrangement, taking all the stock that they proffered and all their bonds as security. Before doing anything, however, in this direction, he said it would be necessary to have their works and power and everything connected with it examined by experts. Mr. Bannister and Mr. Pegram were mentioned as two engineers that would do to examine the property, and he would like, he said, a good accountant to be employed to examine their books, and an attorney to examine their organization and see that everything about it was legal – to all of which I readily assented as being eminently proper.

There has been an accumulation of interest and coupons to the amount of about $19,000 which he has notified us ought to be paid by us. As our work has not been completed as early as we expected, and we have no income yet from the enterprise, we had hoped that this might be taken out of the money that was advanced by him for the work; but he is averse to this, and though I stated the matter to him as well as I could, showing our situation and how cramped we were, he was still apparently firm in the requirement that we should pay this.

On the whole, however, I thought our interview quite as satisfactory as I could have expected.

We returned to New York this evening.

6–7 January 1897 • Wednesday–Thursday

Wednesday, January 6, 1897

This morning I saw Mr. Tenbroeck, who is the General Eastern Agent of the Union Pacific, and secured my sleeping car accommodations and ticket.

I then proceeded to Mr. Claflin’s. I had a very long conversation with Mr. Claflin and an exceedingly pleasant one. But he seems to be resolute in his desire to obtain the $60,000 which we owe him, and which should have been paid some time ago. I succeeded, however, in having an extension of four months, with the understanding that there should be another four months extension if we would promise to pay at the end of the second four months. I told him I did not like to make that promise, as it was not my individual affair; but he thought it was only fair that if he promised to extend we should promise to pay. I told him that the proposition was a fair one, no doubt, and I was willing to promise that I would to everything in my power to pay it. As he seemed to think that one of the reasons for wishing it paid was that Cannon, Grant & Co., though having a good standing, were brokers, and there seemed to be a fear in the east at the present time of firms engaged in that line of business, and that the endorsement of a mercantile firm such as Z.C.M.I. would be far better. I asked how Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co. would do. He said we might divide it at the expiration of the first four months and give him the endorsement of Cannon, Grant & Co. for half and Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co. for half.

We had a very pleasant conversation on various topics, and he pressed me when I came to New York to always call and see him. He followed me down and found that I had been stopped downstairs talking to acquaintances on the lower floor, and he and Mr. Eames came down and had further conversation with me. I remained there fully half an hour. Mr. Claflin was very desirous that I should use my influence to have a protective tariff. I suppose, he thought I might have influence with Members of Congress, and especially with my son. I told him I was heartily in favor of it, and would do anything in my power to bring about the enactment of a proper tariff, as I believed it would be for the good of the country.

At 4:30 I took train for the west, traveling by the New York Central and Michigan Central to Chicago. I had as fellow passengers to Chicago Mr. & Mrs. Judd, of New Britain, Conn. They had their little son Harold with them. They were very pleasant, agreeable people, and made the trip much less tedious than it otherwise would have been. Mr. & Mrs. Judd are relatives of my old friend, Hon. Geo. M. Landers, and I made their acquaintance years ago. The father and mother of Mr. Judd were entertained by me when they came to Salt Lake in company with Mr. & Mrs. Landers some years ago, and I afterwards visited them.

9 January 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, January 9, 1897

There was nothing occurred of note on the homeward journey. I reached Salt Lake City this afternoon.

This trip from New York is the quickest I have ever made, as I made the journey in less than three days.

I feel that my trip has not been without profit. I think the business that was entrusted to me has been as successfully performed probably as possible under the circumstances.

I found that the Oregon Short Line people effected their sale to-day. I was informed that Mr. S. H. H. Clark was very anxious to see me, and learning that he and Mr. Dickinson were going to return this evening at 7, I went in search of Mr. Clark, going first to his private car and not finding him there, then to the Knutsford Hotel, where I met Mr. Carr and Mr. Nichols, of the Committee, Mr. Mink, Mr. Coudert and Mr. Anderson, Receivers of the Union Pacific, and Mr. Cornish, who has come out to sell the property. I did not find Mr. Clark at the Knutsford, but found him at the Alta Club, and had a very pleasant conversation with him. Mr. Clark is very kind in his spirit, and expresses himself as very desirous to do anything he can to assist us in our affairs. He said he hoped I would call upon him whenever he could be of any service, and as we were separating he said, Now, Mr. Cannon, I want you to not be afraid to call upon the Union Pacific for anything you want. You are a modest man, but don’t let your modesty interfere with anything you may want.

I found my family in good health and all glad to see me.

On this trip I was exceedingly hurried, so much so that I had scarcely time to eat.

10 January 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, January 10, 1897.

I attended meeting in the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock and enjoyed the meeting exceedingly. Two returning missionaries, Brother Geo. Bowles from New Zealand and Brother Geo. S. Spencer from the Netherlands, addressed the congregation, and Brother Heber J. Grant, at my request, followed. The missionaries spoke very interestingly, and Brother Grant spoke with a great deal of spirit and fire.

In the evening I attended the Ward meeting and addressed the saints, and enjoyed the meeting very much.

11 January 1897 • Monday

Monday, January 11, 1897

This morning the brethren who are interested in the deal that we have in view with the Big Cottonwood Power Co. met together, and I reported the results of my visit to Mr. Banigan.

A new condition of affairs has arisen since I have been absent, and it appeared necessary to us that something should be done to raise $85,000 immediately, to take up the note that the Big Cottonwood Power Co. has given to the English Co. connected with the Salt Lake & Ogden Gas & Electric Light Co. The Big Cottonwood people are afraid that this Company may sell their bonds, $162,000 of which they hold in their hands as collateral for the $81,000 that has been loaned. Mr. Hilton, who represents that company, is pressing them for an amalgamation of interests, and they are very much afraid of him, as the terms he proposes are exceedingly hard. It is on this account that they are anxious we should join with them, and to my mind it is absolutely necessary for our safety that there should be a union of interest. The thought is very objectionable to me of a foreign company like this coming into our country and securing control, as they are evidently designing to do, of such properties as this Big Cottonwood property, and as they would like to do of our enterprise. All they care about is making money, and if they could by the use of money get control of affairs they would squeeze us in this country very hard. I feel that it is not the will of the Lord that we should submit to these things if we can possibly avert them, and for this reason I have felt that we should spare no pains to keep out of their power. If we, as members of the Church, men engaged in building up Zion, can keep control of the Ogden Co. and gain control of the other Co., we know that it will be much safer and better for everybody than if these strangers should come in and get control and have no regard for anything except the making of money. We can trust ourselves, because we know what our motives and purposes are; but we cannot trust them. So when we found to-day the imminence of the peril, I proposed that I should try and raise $85,000 to pay the principal and interest. I thought my credit sufficient to do so, with the 162 bonds which they have pledged as collateral also. John M. Cannon and myself went down and saw Mr. Dooly upon the subject; but Mr. Dooly did not feel that it was a safe thing for him at first. After talking to him sometime, however, he appeared more favorable, but said that it would require at least a week for him to get the money, as he would have to get it from San Francisco, and he always submitted propositions involving such a large amount as this to the Board of Directors in San Francisco, and members of the Board are now absent at Portland. We thought this too long.

I attended a meeting of the Bullion-Beck Co., but in accordance with my wish they had held a meeting and had just adjourned as I got there. I had requested Brother Beatie to make the meeting as short as possible, because of it being my birthday and having to be at home as early as possible. There was a dividend of 20¢ a share declared.

My family have been engaged for some time in making preparations to celebrate my birthday, I being 70 years old to-day, and I was desirous to be punctual. We had a most excellent dinner and a very fine programme of exercises. My son John Q. was master of ceremonies, and he gave a most interesting description of our family and its origin. He was evidently bestowed some research on this. He also gave the number of those dead for whom ordinances had been performed in the Temple, and the number, according to the names we had, that had yet to be administered for. There was singing and recitations, and a piece by the little children called “Mother Goose”. Lewis gave a sketch of the family from the time of our birth. Among other surprises for me was the presentation to me of a very valuable fur coat, which my wives and sons had bought for me. It was a costly present, and one that I very much appreciate.

Altogether the afternoon and evening was one of the most delightful I ever enjoyed. All my wives were present, excepting Sarah Jane (who is in Washington), and every one of the family within reach, and letters were received from William and Adah, from Sylvester and Willard, from my wife Sarah Jane and Frank and Mattie and their children, and a dispatch also from Frank, all of which were read, and which expressed the most delightful feelings.

It is a great pleasure to be honored as I am by my wives and children. I sometimes feel that their expressions concerning me are altogether too strongly favorable; but I feel very thankful in thinking that they are real and not said for the occasion. The Lord has blessed me with an obedient family. My children have ever been obedient and respectful and kind to me.

It may not be inappropriate, inasmuch as I am now 70 years of age, to write a little concerning myself at this time of life. My general health is good. My capacity for labor is almost if not quite as great as it ever has been in my life – I mean the labor to which I am accustomed, such as dictating for the press, correspondence, and the intellectual labor involved in the duties of my calling and Priesthood, as well as preaching. Perhaps others may notice, however, that there may be a falling off in vigor in preaching. I myself, though, am but little conscious of this, if it be the case. I have always been a good sleeper; and when not oppressed with business cares, of which I have had a great many of late years, I am a good sleeper yet. I never was a large eater, and my appetite is not quite so good perhaps of late years as it was formerly; still I enjoy my food. I have been grey from early life; in fact, I had grey hairs in my head before I was 25 years old, and by the time I was 40 I was quite grey. My hair and beard are quite white now, and I am somewhat bald, and have been for 20 years. My eyesight has always been excellent. I have had remarkable eyes. Probably few men ever had better. I can read and write and use my eyes now without having the least necessity for glasses. I notice, however, that I need a stronger light than I did when I was younger. My teeth are pretty good also. I have no false teeth. I come of a race of men, on my father’s side, who had excellent teeth, and I have had well formed and sound teeth; still I notice that they are not so good as they have been. My weight is about 180 lbs. I have varied from this very little for upwards of 35 years. This has been a remarkable feature with me, that no matter whether I ate much or little, worked hard or not, I varied very little in my weight. My height is about 5 ft.7 1/4 inches. I have scarcely ever known what it was to have a headache, and have suffered very little from pains of any kind, excepting my stomach. I have always had a weak stomach, and have had to be careful about my food and my eating. I have had more pain from my stomach than any other part of my body. Bone aches and fatigue I have rarely felt. Of course, I have not worked at manual labor for more than half my life. My strength has not lain in the direction. I have always been active on my feet; but, of course, I feel, through lack of exercise, and age perhaps, not so capable of walking long distances as I formerly did. On the whole I feel that the Lord has been very kind to me, and as it has been remarked to me a number of times to-day, I am thought to be a very well preserved man. My brother Angus said, in talking to one of the brethren about my age, that I was as active as men usually are at 55.

I do not write this description with any view of boasting; for I know the thread of life can be clipped at any moment, and though I have been able so far to do my duty easily, yet if the Lord were to withdraw His aid my career would soon be ended. In the meeting that we had this evening of my family I felt to bless them in the authority of the Priesthood which the Lord had given to me, and the Spirit of the Lord was poured out in power upon us and we all rejoiced very much therein.

12 January 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 12, 1897

We had another meeting to-day of those brethren who met together yesterday upon the Big Cottonwood Co. business, and it was resolved that we would close the contract with them if they would do so, and make the deal as proposed, even though we had not the $85,000 at present to close up with. There are movements being made which make us fear that unless we do something of this kind we may jeopardize our interests very seriously, and Brother Le Grand Young was instructed to endeavor to get a contract closed of this kind, which would relieve us of any uncertainty and prevent any combination being made against us.

At 10 o’clock this morning we met, by appointment, with Mr. Samuel Carr and Mr. Nichols of the Oregon Short Line Reorganization Committee. They came accompanied by Mr. Bancroft, who is to be the Manager of the new organization. My son Frank had written out very carefully points in the provisional contract which we had last made, where he felt that there should be changes made. We discussed these very freely, and from the spirit that was manifested we think there will be no difficulty in arranging everything in a satisfactory manner between us. Presidents Woodruff and Smith both expressed their pleasure at the spirit exhibited.

13 January 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 13, 1897

Dictated my journal to Brother Winter.

We had an interview with Brother Le Grande Young upon the subject of the proposed union of the Pioneer Electric Power Co. with the Big Cottonwood Power Co.

Mr. Francis Tiernan, who has projected a railway from Provo down to the southern part of our State with a view to carrying it through to California, had a lengthy interview with President Woodruff and myself to-day. He wishes to form an alliance with us in the building of a line through to California, and desires that we should examine his project.

14 January 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, January 14, 1897

The First Presidency and President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Geo. Teasdale, Heber J. Grant and Anthon H. Lund met together in the Temple this morning. A good many explanations were made to the brethren concerning our railroad projects and this proposal of Mr. Tiernan’s.

We also had before us a proposition brought by Brother Heber J. Grant from the Superintendency of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, to publish the subjects of ten discourses and the names of the Elders who should deliver them. It had been decided by the Superintendency that these discourse[s] should be delivered in the Assembly Hall, probably on each Thursday night for ten weeks; but Brother Grant had thought it might be better to have them in the Tabernacle on Sundays. It was moved and seconded that this should be done; but before the motion was submitted, I interposed and gave my views concerning this method. I felt that there was danger of an innovation creeping into the Church; that where men were selected to preach upon given subjects there was danger of young men resorting to the methods that are in vogue in other religious circles of writing their discourses, and I thought we ought to be careful on this point, as I could perceive a tendency among our young people to do things as the world do them. This led to considerable discussion, and cases were cited of ministers making attempts to deliver sensational discourses in order to draw people to hear them. It was thought that by delivering discourses on these given subjects it would draw a great many of our young people as well as strangers to hear these subjects treated upon. While I admitted it was very desirable that we should do all in our power to interest our young people and to draw them to our meetings, still this was a fashion that the sectarians indulged in, and if it was a good thing to have this for ten weeks, why would it not be equally proper to have it always and have the subjects on which the Elders would discourse on Sundays published? Perhaps my feelings on this point are extreme; but I am somewhat opposed to this method of preaching the Gospel. It was finally decided that these meetings should be held in the Assembly Hall.

Mr. Tiernan met with us again after the meeting and spent nearly an hour talking over these railroad projects.

15 January 1897 • Friday

Friday, January 15, 1897.

There was a Sugar Co. meeting this morning early.

I had a call from Wm. S. Godbe to gain some information concerning the probability of a railroad being built south that will go by Pioche, where he has large interests.

At 1 o’clock we had a meeting of Z.C.M.I.

Presidents Woodruff, Smith and myself had a conversation concerning the political situation in Idaho. I have felt considerably disturbed in my feelings about the situation there, and we have received a good many dispatches asking us to aid Dubois in securing his election. My feeling has been that we as the First Presidency ought to be united in our views, and also in the counsel that we give on these matters, and I expressed myself with some freedom and plainness to Presidents Woodruff and Smith on this question, saying I did not wish to have my views followed, but I thought we three men ought to be united in our decision. Afterwards I dictated a dispatch to be sent to one of our brethren of the legislature at Boise, and a dispatch to be sent to Senator Teller also.

We had another call from Mr. Tiernan.

16 January 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, January 16, 1897

I requested the Union Pacific train to stop on 10th South St. to let myself and wife Carlie get aboard, as I intended to go to Conference at Provo, and as she had a pass she wanted to visit her kindred there. Brother Edward Partridge let us have his buggy to drive up from the depot to Brother Holbrook’s, and from there we went to meeting at 10 o’clock[.] There was not a large gathering of people. President Partridge described the condition of the stake, and his first counselor, David John, also made remarks in the same line; after which Brother F. M. Lyman occupied the remainder of the time and spoke very earnestly.

In the afternoon there was a little larger congregation than in the morning, and I occupied the time, speaking with a good deal of freedom.

At 4:45 we returned to the city, and the train stopped for us at our street.

The snow has fallen very heavily to-day.

17 January 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, January 17, 1897

The Conference of the Weber Stake is to be held to-day and to-morrow, and at 8 o’clock I left the city in company with Brother Brigham Young to attend it. We were met at the station by Brother Lewis W. Shurtliff, President of the Stake, who took us in his sleigh, with Brother Owen Woodruff, son of President Woodruff, to his house. From there we went to meeting. The Tabernacle was about three-fourths full. Brother Brigham Young and myself occupied the time. In the afternoon the house was filled to overflowing, and a great many could not get in. I occupied all the time. In the evening another meeting was held, and Brother Owen Woodruff and Brother Brigham Young spoke.

We were entertained by Brother Shurtliff at his house. He was compelled, however, to go this evening to the city. He is a member of the Legislature, and the election of a Senator is pending, and it was deemed necessary for him to go to Salt Lake City.

18 January 1897 • Monday

Monday, January 18, 1897

Mr. Bannister has been attacked with la grippe, and I had an interview with him last evening. He gave me a report in writing of what had taken place between Mr. Banigan and himself.

At 10 o’clock attended meeting in the Tabernacle. Brother Ballantyne, Supt. of Sunday schools, and Brother Angus T. Wright, Supt. of Improvement Associations, each reported the condition of the organization in the Stake at which he stands at the head. I then addressed the people and had great freedom.

In the afternoon the house was crowded. Brother Brigham Young and myself occupied the time. Brother Middleton presided, in the absence of Brother Shurtliff. He suggested that we have another meeting in the evening, if it would not wear us out. I replied it might wear the people out. He said, no, the people were hungry. Almost contrary to our expectations, we found the house well filled in the evening. Brother Brigham Young’s bronchial tubes are very much affected, and he did not care to speak much. I told him that I would speak first and he could follow. I had great freedom in talking.

I may say that these two days’ meetings have been exceedingly interesting to me, and, so far as I can learn, to all who have attended them. The Spirit of the Lord has been poured out in great power. I do not know when I have felt more free in talking to the people than I have here, and when I have had greater power. The brethren, commenting on these meetings, said they had been a great feast to them. There is great need of very plain, pointed talk, accompanied by the Spirit of the Lord, at the present time among the Latter-day Saints. I am satisfied that meetings of this kind will have a good effect upon the people[.]

19 January 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 19, 1897

I concluded to stay here last night, and Brother Brigham Young also, because of the wish of the brethren that we should hold a meeting last night.

This morning at 10 o’clock there was a meeting here of the stockholders of the Pioneer Electric Power Co., and Presidents Woodruff and Smith came up to attend it. The old board was reelected. We afterwards went up to the Power House, took dinner there, and returned in time to catch the 2:10 train for Salt Lake.

We have been entertained by Brother & Sister Shurtliff with great hospitality. Sister Shurtliff has done everything she could to make our stay agreeable, and I really enjoyed my visit with them. We made a call yesterday evening on Brother Peery and had quite a talk with him. He has not attended the meetings, and I rather think has not felt to do so, because of the manner in which Brother Joseph F. Smith spoke about him at one of the conferences here some time ago.

After reaching the city, we went to the office and signed an agreement between the First Presidency and the Big Cottonwood Power Co., by which, if we carry it out, we are to obtain control of that company.

President Shurtliff stayed at my house all night.

20 January 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 20, 1897

Attended to considerable business in the office, part of which was in relation to the political situation here and the election of United States Senator.

Dictated my journal to Brother Winter.

21 January 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, January 21, 1897

Met this morning with the Brigham Young Trust Co. at 9 o’clock and transacted considerable business. Brother Brigham Young tendered his resignation as Vice President of the Board, but it was not accepted. He stated, however, that whether it would be accepted or not he was determined to resign and should sell his stock. I said nothing in relation to this, but I felt grieved that he took this action, because it is a bad time for him, being the representative of his father, to step out from this organization. If things do not go to suit him, it seems to me the better course is to stay in and use his influence in preventing anything that he may think injurious to the property or to the wives who are dependent for their income upon the property.

At 11 o’clock the First Presidency attended council meeting in the Temple with President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Geo. Teasdale and Heber J. Grant, of the Twelve Apostles.

The cases of Moses and George Thatcher, who are members of the Stake Board of Education of Cache Stake, was brought up at the instance of Prest. Orson Smith, and it was unanimously decided that Brother Smith should not present the names of these two brothers at the Stake Conference, but should substitute others. Reports were made to us also concerning the spirit of these two men on the Brigham Young College Board at Logan, and showing was a very bad one, and it was felt that something should be done. Brother Brigham Young was selected to bring this question to the attention of the Church attorneys and have the charter examined, and see what authority the First Presidency had in the premises. It was also felt that it would be proper to drop Geo. W. Thatcher from his position in the General Church Board of Education.

I brought to the attention of the Council the situation of affairs, and how overburdened I would be if I continued to act as the President of the Utah & California Ry. Co., and after stating the question to them I suggested that we should have Brother David Eccles come down and lay the matter before him and see whether he could take a mission to take hold of this business, examine it, and learn whether it is a safe enterprise for us to engage in.

There was some conversation as to the best course to be taken with members of the legislature who are voting for Moses Thatcher and also members of the Church, especially officers, who had signed petitions for him to be elected to the position of United States Senator. It was felt that these people should not be permitted to enter into the house of the Lord without first making reparation, and it was decided that it would be a good thing for the Presidents of the Stakes to have this matter brought to their attention quietly, and when recommendations were presented to them for signature, to learn whether those who desired them had been guilty of these acts.

I was mouth in prayer.

After we returned to the office, there was a meeting of the Co-operative Wagon & Machine Co.

I dictated a long letter to Mr. Banigan concerning the situation of the business here.

22 January 1897 • Friday

Friday, January 22, 1897

The committee appointed by the Governor to take charge of the Semi-Centennial proceedings, consisting of Spencer Clawson, Judge Colborn, Mr. Rognon, Charles R. Savage and Mrs. McCune, called upon the First Presidency this morning and presented their wishes to us upon this subject. They wanted to get $10,000 from the Church if they could, as well as the aid of the public generally. The meeting was quite interesting. There was a pleasant exchange of compliments and good feeling.

To-day has been another exciting day over politics, as it has been for several days past, the election of U.S. Senator being pending.

I dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

23 January 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, January 23, 1897.

At 7:45 this morning I started on the Utah & Nevada R.R. for Grantsville, where conference is to be held today and tomorrow. My son Angus took me to the station. At the Halfway House I got off the train and into the buggy of Brother Charles Anderson, who had come from Grantsville for me. He had a splendid team and our journey to Grantsville was made very quickly – 10 1/2 miles in less than an hour.

At 10 o’clock the conference opened. Brother F. M. Lyman was there. A report of the situation of the Stake was made by Brother Gowans, the Prest. of the Stake, and I occupied the rest of the time.

I was entertained at Brother Anderson’s, as also was Brother Lyman.

In the afternoon Brother Lyman occupied most of the time. He was preceded by two returned missionaries, Brothers Barrus and Johnson. They spoke excellently.

There was a meeting in the evening, at which I spoke all the time.

24 January 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, January 24, 1897

There was a meeting of the Sunday school children in the Academy, which was crowded. They went through their exercises, after which I spoke to them.

In the afternoon we met at the meeting house, which was very crowded, and after the authorities were presented and the usual business attended to, I occupied the remainder of the time and had excellent liberty. In fact, all our meetings have been very good, and I think much valuable instruction has been given. The people here, from the reports, are in a pretty good condition and are not in the situation that some are reported to be in in other Stakes, with their minds poisoned against the exercise of the authority of the Priesthood in their midst.

Brother Charles Anderson took me in his buggy to Tooele City. Brother Lyman lives there, and he and Brother Gowans and Brother Richards rode in the latter’s carriage to Tooele.

I was invited to stay at Brother Lyman’s and have supper.

We held a meeting in the meeting house and addressed the people, enjoying considerable freedom.

25 January 1897 • Monday

Monday, January 25, 1897

I did not go out of the house until ready to start for the train. Brother Anderson carried me in his buggy to the train. I reached Salt Lake City at 4 o’clock and was met by my son Angus.

I have enjoyed my visit to this conference very much, though last night I felt considerably depressed in the night.

26 January 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 26, 1897

I still suffer from depression. My health is not as good as it might be; but to-day I have been very busy and have enjoyed myself.

27 January 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 27, 1897

I was busy to-day going through my correspondence, which had been accumulating for some time. I dictated a large number of letters to Brother Arthur Winter. My only interruption from this work was to hold conversation, at President Woodruff’s request, with politicians concerning the Senatorial question. I think it has been made very clear to-day that Judge Henderson cannot be elected. My suggestions have been then that they should hold their men together and prepare to vote solidly in whatever direction it might be needed to defeat Moses Thatcher and to elect the man whom they preferred.

28 January 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, January 28, 1897.

Professor Talmage called upon me this morning and had a long conversation about his discoveries in the south. He had a large number of photographs.

Donald McLean, Esq., the projector of the Pacific Short Line, called upon me and had some conversation in relation to railroad matters this morning.

We had interviews to-day concerning the Senatorial situation.

We were saddened this morning by the news of the death of Brother Edward Stevenson, who departed this life last night. He was one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies.

The First Presidency and Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, John H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale, Heber J. Grant and John W. Taylor met in the Temple this morning.

A letter was read from Brother C. I. Kempe, of Arizona, to me upon the subject of erecting a temple or an endowment house in Arizona for the convenience of the saints in marrying and attending to ordinances. This led to considerable conversation on the subject, and while no decisive action was taken, all felt there was a necessity for a temple and endowment houses to be erected. My own feeling is that we have a temple at some central point, and then an endowment house in each of the stakes. I feel that it is a serious matter to impose upon the Latter-day Saints the necessity of journeying such long distances to have ordinances performed that are necessary, in our minds and in accordance with the word of the Lord, for salvation. Every facility should be extended to make marriage easy.

After this a very lengthy communication was read from the leading members of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Associations, proposing a very radical change in our publishing departments. It contemplated the discontinuance of different periodicals now published, such as the Juvenile Instructor, the Contributor, the Young Woman’s Journal, the Woman’s Exponent, and the issuance of a weekly magazine in which all these various organizations should have a department devoted to its special work. This contemplated also the discontinuance of the Deseret News, and the placing of it under one management, with myself as the editor-in-chief. My name, the document stated, would give the paper a national and even an international standing, because of my being so well known. The document was very well written, and it was a beautiful theory as set forth. It contemplated a magazine that should cover every department of human affairs – statesmanship, political economy, and everything that would tend to the elevation of the people as well as to the development of the different organizations in the Church. But it was theory. I was very reluctant to say anything upon the subject when asked by President Woodruff. Brother Snow touched upon it and compared it to the attempt which had been made in the United Order at Brigham City to have but one mercantile establishment in which everything should be managed. It had started in that way, but appeals were made by others to have stores, and stores had been started. He conveyed the idea that it was difficult, if not impossible, in the present condition of things, to get the people to unite in that way and patronize one institution. In the remarks I made I said that was an exceedingly good illustration of the futility of this scheme. If we were living in the United Order it might be practicable; but in our present condition I said it would be exceedingly difficult to carry this out as described in the letter. The theory was a beautiful one, but I thought it impracticable; for as long as there are printers and men disposed to use their pens, it would be difficult to prevent the starting of journals to satisfy what would be claimed to be a public want. This was shown in the fact that we already had a number of magazines and journals, some of which still survived, but many of which had gone down. I said, to begin with, the Juvenile Instructor was under very heavy obligations, and this has been the most successful of any periodical we have had. No one would be disposed to assume its obligations, I said.

This is somewhat similar to the scheme that John W. Young attempted to inaugurate when he was a member of the First Presidency. At that time he was anxious to have a combination of this kind, and wanted to get some interest in the Juvenile Instructor. This I declined. I said I did not wish to have any partnership in that; but if it was needed at any time, I would be ready to put that on the altar, to be consecrated, as I would anything else, if it was determined that that was the proper thing to do. I feel exactly the same to-day respecting it.

Richard W. Young some time ago proposed to my son Abraham that the Deseret News be suspended as a newspaper and confine itself to religious matters entirely. How much Richard W. Young may have had to do with getting up this document I do not know. His name is not signed to it; but it sounds a good deal like the plan that he proposed to Abraham.

I pointed out to the brethren that the magazines that did the best in the country were magazines that were devoted to special lines, and there never was an instance, to my knowledge of any magazine covering such ground as was foreshadowed in this document. It would require a very heavy corps of editors, and would be very expensive. The Juvenile Instructor has been successful because it has been devoted to certain lines of instruction for children and young people, and that has only been made possible by my making great personal sacrifices several times in its career. Even now I am carrying a heavy load to sustain it. It has now been published 31 years and it has had no public aid.

There was no action taken on this document.

29 January 1897 • Friday

Friday, January 29, 1897

Considerable portion of to-day was devoted to Pioneer Electric Co. business.

We are appealed to frequently these days concerning the Senatorial election. President Woodruff’s feelings have been very strong in relation to Moses Thatcher. He has felt as though it would be a great triumph for the adversary for this man to be elected Senator. Brother Franklin D. Richards and his sons are very much in favor of Judge Henderson. They are backed up by Brother Penrose. In expressing our views as to the choice between the three prominent candidates – Thatcher, Henderson and Rawlins – we have invariably said that we preferred Henderson. It has been clear, however, for some time past that Henderson cannot be elected. We were told at one time that if he could get 4 votes he could be elected; but it would require the First Presidency to say something to the 4 voters equivalent to saying that it was the will of the Lord that they should vote for Henderson. This we have not felt that we could say. We have abstained from saying to any man how he should vote, but have stated our own preference and the reasons we had for preferring Henderson. There are some of our brethren, however, who feel that they could not possibly vote for Henderson, as it would be directly contrary to the wishes of their constituents. This being the case, the names of the legislators have been gone through very carefully to see whether it would be possible to form a combination that would elect Rawlins. Rawlins’ friends have been very free in their statements concerning his attitude toward the Church and towards us individually as being favorable. We find that if the Henderson men who belong to the Church will act with the Rawlins men, and then two Republican members, who are our brethren, vote for him, Rawlins can be elected. This has been the situation now for a number of days. There is a strange reluctance, however, on the part of some of the Henderson people to agree to this. I suspect that there is some sinister influence at work to prevent a combination of that kind, and I have suspected that there is one individual at least in the Henderson camp who would prefer to see Thatcher elected than to have Rawlins get the prize.

30 January 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, January 30, 1897

I took the train this morning, in company with Brother John Nicholson, whom I had invited to accompany me, with the design of attending the Wasatch Stake Conference, which opens this morning.

At Park City we were met by Bishop Duke and a young man with a sled and a span of horses. Sister Fanny Woolley was also along, going to Sister Hatch’s, who is her sister, to take charge of their children while Brother & Sister Hatch go to Mexico, which they intend to do after this conference. We had a delightful ride. It was cool and bracing, and I enjoyed it very much.

We were very hospitably received by Brother & Sister Hatch.

In the afternoon we attended conference. Brother Nicholson made the opening address, after Brother Hatch had made a few remarks, and I followed and occupied the remainder of the time and enjoyed the meeting very much.

In the evening Brother Nicholson occupied about half an hour and I spoke the remainder of the time. We had an excellent meeting.

31 January 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, January 31, 1897.

The Sunday schools met this morning under the superintendency of Brother Lindsay, and after some exercises by the children I occupied about 50 mins. and enjoyed my own remarks very much, as I believe all present did. Brother Nicholson followed and spoke about 20 mins.

In the afternoon, after attending to some business, I spoke to the people and had a great deal of freedom. The Spirit of the Lord was poured out plentifully and all seemed to rejoice. The house was filled to overflowing. I felt exceedingly thankful to the Lord for His Holy Spirit, and I am sure great good will be done; for the brethren who spoke to me about the meetings seemed to be greatly pleased.

In the evening we drove over to Midway and held meeting. Brother Nicholson spoke, and I followed.

Brother John Watkins is the Bishop of this place, and seems to be an enterprising man. He has succeeded in piping water from a large spring some distance off and bringing the water into the town – a work which was greatly needed, because Midway stands upon a rock which cannot be penetrated for water. He has done this work without incurring any debt, which I think exceedingly creditable to him as a Bishop.

Several persons came to me during this conference and shook hands very heartily, and were profuse in asking the Lord to bless me, as I had been the means, they said, of bringing them to Zion. I had helped them in gathering. It was exceedingly gratifying to me to find that deeds of this kind are remembered and that they appear to appreciate the kindness that was rendered them. I made it a rule for the two years that I had charge of the emigration on the frontier in 1859-60, to help everyone that was there to get away. There were a number of cases where they needed help and we rendered it to them. Afterwards, when I was in England in charge of the emigration of the Mission, I pursued the same policy, and a great many people were sent to Zion that otherwise would have remained. The Lord blessed me very much in managing this, and I had the disposition to take advantage of the position that I occupied without it being a charge to the Church.

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January 1897, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 25, 2024