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February 1897


1 February 1897 • Monday

Monday, February 1, 1897

I spent the forenoon in conversation and visiting with friends who called upon me.

At 12 o’clock sharp Brother Larry Blakely drove up to Brother Hatch’s and we got into a carriage and were taken over by him to Park City, where we took train to Salt Lake City.

I had been telephoned from the Union Pacific office to know when I would be in, and an appointment had been made for me to meet Mr. Bancroft at 5:30 at the U.P. offices. I called upon him and found that he was desirous of getting my influence to have freight that had been shipped by some other lines shipped over their line. This matter had been brought to Mr. Bancroft’s attention by a dispatch from Mr. S. H. H. Clark in New York. After hearing all he had to say, I went up to Z.C.M.I. and had an interview with Brother Webber who explained to me why this freight had not been sent over the Union Pacific. He said under the arrangement they had made, several thousand dollars would be saved in the course of a year, and it was quite an inducement for them to ship their goods in the way they were doing. He promised me they would examine into the matter and he would let me know further in the morning.

As there was a party at the theatre of the employes of Z.C.M.I. and I being the longest connected with the Company of any of the Directors, I felt that I ought to attend, although I was very tired and hungry. I went, and took my wife Carlie and my daughter Emily. Tracy and Carol were going there because Carol is one of the employes, and she chose Tracy as her partner. We went there in the victorine. I was requested to lead the grand march. I stayed there till between 12 & 1 o’clock.

2 February 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, February 2, 1897

I had been telephoned to be at the office early this morning, and I felt quite upset through loss of sleep and fatigue, especially as I had not time to eat my breakfast, and I was so driven all day that I had not a moment to spare to even eat a mouthful of lunch. I went home faint and hungry, and felt quite badly.

The first thing I had to devote attention to was the political situation, next a meeting of the Sugar Co., next a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Co, then a meeting of the Big Cottonwood Power Co., then an interview with A. W. McCune about his Senatorial prospects.

I got in the carriage with President Woodruff a little after 5 o’clock and went around by his place to my home.

3 February 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, February 3, 1897

Dictated my journal to Brother Winter.

Had another meeting on the Senatorial situation. We thought that everything had been arranged so that Joseph L. Rawlins would be elected this morning; but for some reason this miscarried, which confirms us in the suspicion that there is some counter influence at work to prevent his election. We are told, however, On Saturday last, while I was absent, Thatcher reached 28 votes, and a good deal of excitement prevailed, because it was feared that he would get the needed number to elect him; but through dilatory motions this was prevented, and it is said that credit is due to Aquilla Nebeker, President of the Senate, recognizing these motions and thus preventing an election. There is danger all the time of some combination being made that will give Moses Thatcher the necessary votes, and this failure on the part of the Henderson people after having everything arranged, as we were told, makes the situation very menacing. A. W. McCune has thought he could be brought in as a dark horse, but we learn that this is impracticable.

4 February 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, February 4, 1897

Brother Selden Clawson was in the office this morning to see us about selling or leasing the Gardo House to the Alta Club. He thinks that the Club would be glad to get the house if the terms were suitable. This is a question that we feel should be submitted to the leading brethren, that an expression of their views may be obtained upon it.

Hugh J. & John M. Cannon were in the office this morning to see us in relation to the loan of Mr. Banigan’s. I submitted to Presidents Woodruff and Smith that I thought I could get an extension of the $163,000 that we are owing to him by advancing $44,000, which I thought I could borrow from Wells, Fargo & Co. on my own credit. I had thought perhaps we might get it through Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co. with my endorsement; but Mr. Dooly demurred about making a loan in that form, but had said that anything I wanted personally I could get. The brethren felt if I could get this money it would be well to do so, and this would obviate the necessity of raising at the present time the $163,000.

At 11 o’clock we attended our usual meeting in the Temple. Beside the First Presidency, there were Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale, H. J. Grant, J. W. Taylor and A. H. Lund. I reported to the Council my trip to Wasatch, and Brothers Young, Lyman and Grant reported their labors in Cache Valley. They had held conference on Saturday and Sunday, and had then spread and taken the settlements of the valley between them. They reported the feeling among the people as being very good. It had been deemed wise for the brethren to make this visit because of reports which had reached the Council concerning the Thatcher influence which was being used there in misleading the people.

I brought before the Council the case of Dr. J. E. Talmage. He had applied to me as the President of the Literary & Scientific Association to know what should be done about representing the Museum in London at the meeting of the Society to which the Museum belongs. It is only due to our being so far from London and because of the interest that people have taken in our Museum, that the membership of our Museum there has been preserved. The rules require that the Museum shall be represented so often, or it is dropped, and there have been two years that we have not been represented. Brother Talmage thinks we should be represented this year, and he proposes that if he should go to London he would like to attend a meeting of the Geological International Society at St. Petersburgh. The opportunity for visiting different parts of the Russian Empire would be very excellent and instructive. It would require $400, in addition to that which he himself is able to spend, to pay for the trip, and he applied to me to know whether that could be furnished. After some little conversation upon the subject, it was felt that the State ought to send him. It would be an excellent opportunity for the State to expend some money for a very worthy purpose. It was felt, however, that if the State did not do it, that Brother Talmage should still go, as there would be an opportunity to learn about the condition of the Russian Empire in regard to the preaching of the Gospel and the regulations that would have to be observed.

5 February 1897 • Friday

Friday, February 5, 1897

My brother Angus called at the office this morning to get our views concerning prominent men who had taken active part in urging the election of Moses Thatcher. He said he thought it improper for such persons to be admitted to the Temple, and he wanted to know whether his feeling was right or not. The First Presidency felt that such persons should not be admitted until they had repented of their conduct and made satisfaction, but they thought it would be unwise at the present time to say much about this in the present condition of public feeling, and especial care should be taken that it should not become public, as it might lead to bad results. At the same time home missionaries who had done this need not be called upon to preach, and if they could be made to feel without any announcement to them of the reasons, that they were not esteemed as they should be, it might bring some of them to enquire what the trouble was and they could then learn in a way that would impress them that their conduct was disapproved of.

Mr. Bannister called upon us and gave us full explanations concerning the steps that had been taken in the matter of the contract with the Salt Lake & Ogden Electric Light Co. The members of the Big Cottonwood Co. had felt that they were not getting as much as they ought to do for 1592 horse power, and this had led to considerable discussion. Mr. Bannister’s report explained the situation, and we felt that $45,000 which was now proposed to ask for the horse power of the Cottonwood Co. was under the circumstances sufficient, and that they should not any longer object to the contract being made. By receiving this amount they get more in proportion for their power, in view of the capital they have invested, than the Pioneer Electric Power Co. will do, if this contract shall be closed. At Mr. Bannister’s request, I went down to the Knutsford and lunched with him and Mr. Hilton, and Mr. Curtis, the attorney for the Light Co. In our conversation I expressed myself to the effect that we were desirous to have harmonious relations with them, and we were desirous to make a contract that would be mutually satisfactory. I spoke to them in relation to the solvency of their company. I said matters had been brought to my knowledge concerning their bonds while I was in the east that had caused a feeling to arise in my mind that perhaps they were not solvent. Mr. Curtis admitted that the bonds I had heard of, the interest had not been paid on them, and it was not a good showing, but he said the intention was to reorganize the company and to scale down the capital, and put it on a solid, financial basis; and he assured me, in the presence of Mr. Hilton and Mr. Bannister, that that would be the condition of the Company. This assurance I was glad to receive in the presence of witnesses. I then spoke in relation to the $81,000 note that was owing to them by the Big Cottonwood Power Co., and said that we would like to get an extension of that note, and they both said that if the negotiations went along harmoniously they would do that. They intimated also that it might be possible for us to fund our enterprises and issue new bonds, which they thought they might aid in marketing. They agreed to wait till Tuesday to have the business completed.

Letters were addressed by President Woodruff to Geo. W. Thatcher and Moses Thatcher, asking them to resign from the Board of Trustees of the Brigham Young College at Logan.

6 February 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, February 6, 1897

I was busy at the office dictating articles &c.

7 February 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, February 7, 1897

This is our monthly fast day, and at 2 o’clock I attended meeting of the ward and had a very enjoyable time. The meeting was turned over to the saints as testimony meeting, and a large number bore testimony. I bore my testimony towards the close of the meeting. All expressed themselves as having enjoyed the meeting very much.

In the evening Brother George Naegle and wife and child came down, and he addressed the saints and described his labors in Europe, and I followed in a few remarks. Brother Naegle stayed with us all night. I was very pleased to hear from him concerning the labors of my son Brigham T. My son Read he had not met often. I gather from all he says about Brigham that he is very effective in the ministry and has a very excellent knowledge of the German language – all of which was gratifying to hear.

8 February 1897 • Monday

Monday, February 8, 1897.

I met this morning with Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co. and attended to considerable business.

I attended a stockholders’ meeting of the Wonder Mining Co. The same board of directors was re-elected, of which I am one.

I dictated work to Brother Winter.

A meeting of the Deseret Telegraph Co. was held; afterwards a meeting of the directors of the Utah & California R.R. Co. Beside the First Presidency, there were present, R. C. Lund, Mr. McCornick and Mr. Dern, and Attorney F. S. Richards. I explained the object of the meeting; that the death of my son Abraham had caused a suspension of everything connected with it, and I felt myself unable to take upon me the responsibility of carrying the load that had been upon him. But now there were notices appearing in the paper concerning companies that were going to take action about building a road, and I felt the time had arrived for us to take such steps as were necessary to preserve the rights that we had acquired, particularly the grade of 145 miles long from Milford west, which we had obtained legal possession of. I stated that it was not our intention to do any wrong in the matter of this grade, as we wished to preserve friendly relations with the Union Pacific and the Oregon Short Line; but if we did not take steps to maintain possession, others might take hold who would not be friendly to those companies or to us. I stated also that we had induced Mr. David Eccles, who was then present, to take hold of this enterprise and examine it thoroughly, he being a man of excellent business qualifications, and give the matter such attention that we can form some correct idea as to whether it would be better for us to persevere and try and build this road or not. I suggested, too, that Mr. Eccles should be appointed a director to fill the vacancy created by the death of Abraham. Mr. McCornick moved that Mr. Eccles be appointed, and this was carried, and Robert S. Campbell was appointed Secretary.

I had a meeting this evening with my sons John Q., Angus J., Hugh J. & Lewis T., and I brought to their attention the fact that I had land there that was not properly cultivated and I would like them to take hold, if they would, and cultivate the land and produce themselves hay crops for their own use, and I would be at the expense of fencing, &c.

9 February 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, February 9th, 1897

I dictated my journal to Brother Winter.

Brothers David Eccles and C. W. Nibley came in and talked over railroad matters. They proposed a plan by which, if we approved of it, they thought we could obtain possession of the Oregon Short Line through a lease on terms that would be easily met. They both thought that I would be the person to carry it out. The plan they suggest is to see Mr. Boissevain, who represents the minority bondholders and perhaps stockholders of the Oregon Short Line. They say they heard that he came within a very few shares of controlling the line. He and those whom he represents are not satisfied, so these brethren have heard, with the manner in which the road is likely to be run hereafter. If I would see him and make a proposal to him to guarantee so much as dividends per annum, and induce him to quietly buy enough stock to give him the control, they thought that he and those whom he represents would be glad to make an arrangement of that kind. Mr. Boissevain has exhibited in the past quite a willingness to enter into some arrangement with us for the part of the Oregon Short Line running west, but nothing definite was reached – I suppose because he was not in a position to talk. If such an arrangement as this could be made, it would no doubt be very satisfactory to us as well as to the stock and bond holders of the Oregon Short Line; for they would get a fixed amount per annum for their investment. Whether it can be done or not remains to be seen. But this will have to be kept very secret, and Brother Eccles charged me that it should not be mentioned to anybody, lest it should get out, which would defeat the purpose.

The First Presidency had a meeting with the committee on revision of the History of Utah. I had brought to the attention of the committee the fact that 12 or 14 pages of the History, set up in type and about to be struck off, were devoted to what is called the Cane Creek Massacre in Tennessee. We had a long discussion about the manner in which it was treated. I took the ground that this subject was not treated in a manner that would commend itself to us in years to come. Extracts were included from the Tribune, such as the fictitious “Bishop West Sermon” and other scurrilous things, and were put in as history, the purpose being to show that these articles had been circulated in Tennessee and had incited mobocracy. I took the ground that it was not wise for us to perpetuate in our history the miserable slanders and falsehoods which the Tribune had published. We were embalming in history that which we should let perish and fall into oblivion. I made the statement – which I believe to be true – that many of the readers after reading what the Tribune said and then what the Historian said, would believe the Tribune’s statements in preference to the historian’s. I thought it was the province of the historian to relate that which occurred; make his own statements without clipping from such a vile sheet as the Tribune the atrocious slanders that had been published about us. This view was finally taken by all. It was thought proper for Brother Whitney to be sent for to re-write that chapter. I felt greatly relieved at this, because I do not want this history to be so partisan and to devote so many pages to an affair that took place in Tennessee. The matter might do very well for Church history, but for a history of Utah it seemed inappropriate to be dwelt upon at such length.

10 February 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, February 10, 1897

I attended meeting of the Wonder Mining Co. at 11 o’clock this morning.

There was a meeting of the General Board of Education at 2 o’clock.

At 3 o’clock I attended a meeting of the Bullion, Beck & Champion Co.

11 February 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, February 11, 1897

A gentleman by the name of Smith called upon me this morning to lay before me the benefits which would follow the organization of a home life insurance company, and he wanted to get my name as one that favored it.

I had a call from Archie Macfarland, who called to see me in regard to a subject that had been brought to our attention by his brother James. The latter had written a letter in which he exhibited considerable feeling concerning the reputed marriage of his daughter to his son-in-law as a second wife. He also complained about some proceedings that had been taken against him by the authority of the Stake as having been prompted by President Woodruff. My conversation with Brother Archie Macfarland was most satisfactory, I think. He is a man of a good spirit, and I made explanations to him which appeared to satisfy him, and sent assurances to his brother through him that President Woodruff nor any of us would do him any injury. We entertained a high regard for him, and would not oppress him, nor consent to his being oppressed in any form.

At 11 o’clock we met at the Temple, there being present, beside the First Presidency, President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale and H. J. Grant.

Among other business, Brother Brigham Young reported his visit to Logan in company with Bishop Preston, to meet with the Trustees of the Brigham Young College. He reported a conversation between Geo. W.& Moses Thatcher and himself. They were not disposed to comply with the request of President Woodruff to resign from the Board of that College until they were indemnified against any legal proceedings hereafter for any acts of the Board, and from his report of their expressions I should judge that they intend to make all the difficulty they can before resigning, and that they will not resign until compelled to do so. Brother Young reported a conversation he had with Moses Thatcher in which he told him that he ought to have been cut off long ago, and for more than one reason. In reply to my question as to whether it excited Thatcher, he said, “No; he is physically and mentally weak”. Bishop Preston had remarked that he was “drunken, but not with wine”.

Brother John Henry Smith was mouth in prayer.

After we descended from our room we administered to a second wife of Brother Levi W. Richards. President Woodruff desired me to be mouth. Both the Sisters Richards had come there by appointment, which I had made with them in consequence of Sister Richards having dreamed that she had been administered to by President Woodruff and myself and had been healed.

Upon our return to the office there was a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Co., at which the contract with the Salt Lake & Ogden Gas & Electric Light Co. was read and discussed very fully. It had been suggested that an organization might be effected combining the interests of the Pioneer Electric Power Co., the Big Cottonwood Power Co. and the Salt Lake & Ogden Gas & Electric Light Co., and issuing stock and bonds to cover the entire properties. If this were done, terms would have to be reached with Mr. Banigan for the surrender of the bonds which we have sold to him and the preferred stock which he has. The basis that had been talked of was to give the Pioneer Electric Power Co. $2,500,000 in stock, the Salt Lake & Ogden Gas & Electric Light Co. $750,000 in stock, and the Big Cottonwood Power Co. $750,000 in stock; the bonds to be divided as follows: Pioneer Electric Power Co. $2,000,000, the Salt Lake & Ogden Gas & Electric Light Co. $1,500,000, and the Big Cottonwood Power Company $500,000. After some discussion, the importance of having Mr. Bannister or myself go east immediately was felt by all, and it was decided that Mr. Bannister should go and lay this matter before Mr. Banigan, Mr. Banigan having said that if any deal were made looking to the funding of the property in a different form, he ought to be advised of it at an early date. The importance of Mr. Bannister going now was that Mr. Curtis and Mr. Hilton, representing the Salt Lake & Ogden Co, had proceeded to New York, and Mr. Hilton was about to sail for Europe. It was proposed that my son Frank should be telegraphed to, to meet Mr. Bannister in New York to conduct the negotiations with Mr. Banigan and the other gentlemen. Frank was advised by dispatch of this. Mr. Bannister was authorized to start as early as he could for the east.

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

12 February 1897 • Friday

Friday, February 12, 1897

I had expressed a desire to go to the Sanpete Stake Conference. President Woodruff demurred to my going – thought I was doing too much; but President Smith and some of the other brethren remarked that it would do me good and also the people. President Woodruff waived his objections, so it was arranged that Brother Brigham Young, Brother Teasdale and myself should attend that conference. I expected to leave for there to-morrow morning. By so doing, however, I should miss the afternoon meeting, and Brother Brigham Young came into the office this morning and remonstrated against my doing that. He said the better way would be to go down this afternoon, in daylight, and get rested before the conference, and not have to get up so early in the morning as I would have to do to catch the train. I listened to his views and concluded to go to Sanpete this afternoon.

At 12:25 I took the train, with my wife Carlie, for Ephraim. Was met at the station by Brother A. H. Lund, who took us to his home. Brother Brigham has a wife living here and he went to her house.

In the evening Brother Noyes, the principal of the Church academy here, invited Brother Young and myself to attend meeting of the students’ society. They had a programme, and there was some singing, recitations &c. Brother Brigham Young spoke, and I followed. The house was filled, it being understood that we would attend the meeting.

13 February 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, February 13, 1897

The conference convened in the meeting house and there was a very full attendance. Prest. Peterson and his two counselors, Brothers Beal and Maiben, reported the condition of the Stake, which was quite satisfactory. Brother Brigham Young and myself occupied the remainder of the time. I spoke first, and enjoyed a good flow of the Spirit.

At 2 o’clock conference again convened, and just as I arose to speak, Brothers Geo. Teasdale, Seymour B. Young and Arthur Winter arrived, they having come by way of Nephi. I spoke for and [an] hour and a quarter and had a good flow of the Spirit.

We intended to have had an evening meeting, but arrangements had been made for a concert. We attended the concert, and I enjoyed it very much. They have a very good choir here, and some of the girls have fine voices.

14 February 1897 • Sunday

Saturday [Sunday], February 14, 1897

At 9 o’clock met with the children in Sunday school. Brothers Brigham Young and Geo. Teasdale both spoke a short time to the children, and I also spoke to them. We dismissed the school at 10;15, and the conference convened at 10:30. The speakers were, Brothers Brigham Young, Geo. Teasdale and Seymour B. Young. I do not think I ever heard Brother Teasdale speak any better if as well as he did this morning. The Spirit of the Lord rested powerfully upon him.

In the afternoon the sacrament was administered and the authorities were presented, after which Brother Lund spoke about half an hour, and I occupied the remainder of the time.

Brother Geo. Teasdale went to Moroni to hold a meeting there this evening.

We held an evening meeting in Ephraim, and to my gratification as well as surprise the house was filled. I looked upon this as a good indication that the people had not become weary of the meetings. Brother Brigham Young spoke about 40 mins., and I spoke for 20 mins.

I have enjoyed myself exceedingly at this conference. A good spirit has prevailed, and the people appear to feel excellently. The temporal circumstances of the people in this Stake seem to be quite good. I never saw a better dressed congregation among our people than we had at this conference. The appearance of the people indicated thrift and prosperity.

15 February 1897 • Monday

Monday, February 15, 1897

After breakfast, Brother Willardson’s sleigh, driven by his son, called for Brother Lund, Brother Peterson and myself to take us to his father’s home whom I wished to see. We called for Brother Brigham Young, and he went with us. Brother Willardson is nearly 87 years of age, and is very feeble. He was glad to see us, and we administered to him. The family prepared lunch for us to take with us home. They are an interesting family.

We called at the Academy and listened to some of the exercises.

At 12:24 we left Ephraim and reached Salt Lake City at 5:25.

16 February 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, February 16, 1897

I found a large number of letters at the office this morning, and Brother Winter and myself opened and examined them.

At 11 o’clock we had a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Co.

At 2 o’clock Baron Von Gertzner, Mr. Hirsch, Mr. Cavano, Dr. Beatie and Bishop Clawson called to see us to talk about an irrigation scheme in Sanpete and Millard counties. They expect to expend several million dollars in taking out the water and have a reservoir that will be the largest in the world. They want our co-operation, and were desirous that I should be one of the directors of their company, or, if I could not be, that somebody else might be selected.

I met with the Big Cottonwood Power Co., of which I have been chosen as a director; but I feel that I must not allow myself to be drawn into so many companies, for I have not the time. I felt quite uneasy in this meeting, because I had heard that my daughter Ann was sick, and her mother was afraid of diptheria or scarlet fever. When I reached home I found the symptoms were those of scarlet fever.

The snow has fallen rapidly and heavily to-day. It seems to me that it is the deepest snow we have had for years.

17 February 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, February 17, 1897

My little daughter is quite sick this morning. I administered to her.

Held a meeting of Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co. this morning.

We were waited upon by Rollin R. Tanner and J. F. Tolton, of Beaver, in relation to our interest in a building that had been erected for educational purposes at Beaver. The Church has put in about $1200, they say, and they are proposing to the Legislature to cede this building to them if they will establish a normal school there, which is greatly needed. We consented to cede our interest in it, on condition that the building should be used for school purposes, and that whenever there should be any change it would then revert to the original owners.

I dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

18 February 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, February 18, 1897

The First Presidency and President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman and George Teasdale met at 11 o’clock in the temple. President Snow presented the case of Moses Thatcher and expressed his feelings to the effect that some action should be taken in his case, either to have him repent or make acknowledgements or to be severed from the Church. Some conversation followed concerning the proper tribunal before which to bring his case. We understand he has taken a recommendation from his Bishop in Logan, but has never presented it to the Bishop of the 17th ward where he resides now. It was decided that it would be better to bring his case before the High Council of this Stake. Brother Brigham Young expressed himself as being ready to do anything in the case that might be needed from him. President Smith thought that perhaps Brother Brigham would not be so suitable on account of his relationship to Geo. W. Thatcher, the brother of Moses; but the view was expressed that this made him more suitable, because he could not be charged with any vindictive feeling. It was decided that Brother Brigham, therefore, should take this matter in hand, and that he should call to his assistance Brothers F. M. Lyman and Heber J. Grant, and when the trial came up that they three should be present.

President Snow said there had been discussion among the sisters concerning the proper way of [8 words redacted relating to the design of the garment]. He told the difference of views that existed. [25 words redacted relating to the design of the garment]. We found the same difference of views among the Twelve. [19 words redacted relating to the design of the garment]. In my remarks I said there was a disposition among our people to be very technical and to attach importance to things that were in and of themselves not so important. Brother Brigham Young illustrated it also by telling how he had been corrected for pouring the oil with his left hand in anointing the sick. Of course, we know it is right to use the right hand in the anointing; but a great many people become very strenuous on small matters, as though they were of importance. [69 words redacted relating to the design of the garment].

I brought the name of Brother Alonzo Kesler before the Council as a suitable young man to succeed Brother S. W. Richards in the presidency of the Eastern States Mission. I related the impression he had made on me in listening to him, and I had made enquiries concerning him and found that Brother Lund, who presided in the British Mission, spoke of him as an excellent missionary.

After we returned to the office, the First Presidency had an interview with Brother Hintze and a young Armenian who has come on here. This young man understands the English language a little. He is from Aintab, and has come to learn something about the future of the mission – when we shall send some more Elders, and whether the people shall gather here. After listening to him and to Brother Hintze, it was suggested that he had better stay here and learn the English language, and be in a position to translate, and that for the present the Armenians should not gather to this land. We feel that the people of the Orient should have a place of gathering provided for them in Palestine, if we can secure it, to which all could gather. We feel that this would be much more suitable than to have them come to this land, especially with the existing feelings on the part of Americans concerning such immigrants.

Brother Alonzo Kesler came in and made a statement of his circumstances, and after listening to him President Woodruff decided that he ought to go on this mission to succeed Brother S. W. Richards in the East.

My little daughter Ann is down with scarlet fever. She is doing as well as can be expected; but we have quarantined her and removed all the children from the house and they are living in the different houses belong[ing] to my family. My wife has secured the services of Sister Rhoda Hardy, who is a good nurse, to wait on the child.

19 February 1897 • Friday

Friday, February 19, 1897.

I had an interview with Mr. Bancroft this morning concerning passes for my daughter Rosannah to go east, and Sister Amelia F. Young who desires to go to Washington for the inauguration, and for my daughters Emily and Grace to go to Logan. I also had conversation with him about renting some of the buildings of the Brigham Young Trust Co. for offices. I fear, from what he says, that they are scarcely suitable for their purposes.

I then went to the Grant school to see the Principal, Mr. Martin, from whom I have received a bill for the schooling of my children amounting to $144, for this year and last. I feel that if the collection of this bill be enforced it will be a great outrage. I pay very heavy school taxes in the city and in the county, but because my houses are just over the line out of the city, this bill is sent to me and payment demanded for it. If I could send my children to the county school, it would not appear such a hardship; but the county school is upwards of a mile distant, and from the time they leave my house they do not pass another house on the road till they reach the schoolhouse. The road is lonely and unfrequented and horribly bad; in fact, I would think I was risking their lives to send them, especially in the winter. Mr. Martin evidently does not share in the view that this bill ought to be collected, but he is merely an executive officer.

The First Presidency had a very interesting interview with a deputation of the officers of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition to be held in Omaha in 1898. They expressed themselves as being delighted in listening to President Woodruff and myself in our description of the settlement of the country and other features in our polity and religion.

20 February 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, February 20, 1897

I had a call from Brother T. G. Webber and Brother Joseph Kimball, the latter a member of the legislature, inviting us to meet the legislature of Idaho who had come here on a visit, at a reception to be held at the Knutsford between 4 & 6 o’clock.

I was very busy all day attending to my private correspondence and other business, in which I was assisted by Brother Arthur Winter.

At 4:30 Brother Brigham Young and myself went down to the Knutsford and was introduced to the members of the legislature of Idaho, may [many] of whom were there with their ladies. I was called to make the introductory speech of welcome, and was followed by Governor Wells and a number of other gentlemen on behalf of the legislature and on behalf of our citizens.

21 February 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, February 21, 1897

At 2 o’clock attended meeting in the Tabernacle. Seats had been reserved for the Idaho Legislature. At the request of some of their members, “O my Father” was sung by the choir, and two anthems. Among the members of the Idaho Legislature is Brother James L. McMurrin, and my brother Angus sent an usher to invite him to the stand, and requested him to address the congregation. This was very unexpected to him; indeed it must have been quite a surprise. But he delivered a most excellent discourse. I was greatly pleased at listening to him. He handled his subject in a very masterly manner, and did this surprisingly well considering the suddenness of his call. The Lord was with him. After he sat down I addressed the congregation and felt quite free in doing so.

An organ recital was given after the close of the meeting, to which the strangers stayed to listen, and a great many of the congregation.

22 February 1897 • Monday

Monday, February 22, 1897

This is the anniversary of Washington’s birth, and the anniversary of my release from the penitentiary.

My son Wilford is attacked much as his sister Ann was, and fear it is scarlet fever. He is stopping at my wife Martha’s, and I administered to him, and had him removed back to his mother’s house, so that if it should be that disease he will be in quarantine with his sister. I stayed at home all day.

23 February 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, February 23, 1897

I went through my correspondence this morning with Brother Arthur Winter.

Brother John R. Winder and Brother Le Grand Young were in and had interview concerning the business of the consolidation of the Pioneer and Big Cottonwood Cos. A dispatch was sent to my son Frank upon the subject.

24 February 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, February 24, 1897

I had a long conversation this morning with my son John Q. I felt it my duty to talk to him with some degree of plainness about his affairs. He is my oldest son, and, as I told him, he ought to be an example to the rest of my family; but he has given me a great deal of serious thought in relation to his management of financial affairs. I cannot account for it. I have done what I could to set him an example, and his mother was an exceedingly careful woman; but John does not seem to have any faculty whatever for managing financial matters. He is now, as I said to him, nearly 40 years of age and has scarcely a home. Our conversation covered considerable ground. He received my admonitions with patience, and I hope they will do him good. As I said to him, I feel that it is just as much my duty to talk to him, if there is anything in his life that needs correction, as if he were under ten years of age.

Sister Nettie Young Easton called at the office and brought a letter which had been written by Brother John W. Taylor to her husband and herself, suggesting that they accept a mission to labor with him in Colorado. Brother Easton would sing, and it rather conveyed the idea that they would be expected to act in a social capacity. She reported that their circumstances were not such as to permit of their doing anything of this kind at their own expense. The First Presidency feel that there is an impropriety in Brother Taylor writing in this way to Elders, and especially upon learning that letters had been sent to some of the Bishops in the Davis Stake asking them for contributions from their wards.

Brother J. H. Ward, the publisher of the “Beobachter”, a German paper, laid his circumstances before the First Presidency, and it was decided to render him some additional assistance, as it is felt that his paper is doing good service.

I had calls from Brother Clark, of Star Valley, and Brother Hansen, of Garfield County, to converse with me upon the subject of the possibility of getting plural wives. I could give them no encouragement.

Brother John A. Bevan, one of the County Commissioners of Tooele County, called upon President Woodruff and myself and had conversation with us concerning the lepers which have been separated from the Hawaiian Colony in Skull Valley. Brother Bevan spoke as though some people thought the Church was responsible for them. My reply to this was, the Church was responsible for all of us who have come just as much as it is for the Hawaiians, and as good a plea could be made of the Church to sustain any indigent or diseased person who comes here because of their religion as to expect the Church to be responsible for these lepers. They came here as other emigrants came. Because we have assisted them, it does not follow that we incur obligations of this character. However, it is probable that we may have to assist them as a matter of charity, but not as any obligation. After hearing these expressions, Brother Bevan himself seemed to think that was the right view to take of these cases.

We had an interview to-day with Brother [first and last names redacted], of Mill Creek, whose wife has been corresponding foolishly with Brother [first name, middle initial, and last name redacted]; [last name redacted], of Paris, Idaho. He brought two letters from Brother [last name redacted] to his wife and one from his wife to [last name redacted]. His wife’s letter expresses to Brother [last name redacted] her love for him &c. Brother [last name redacted] was anxious to get counsel. He says he has lost all confidence in her; but we counseled him not to attempt to put her away, but let the action come from her side if it came at all.

25 February 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, February 25, 1897

Upon the invitation of Brother Francis Armstrong, the First Presidency went and examined the power house of the Salt Lake City Railway Co. The power from the Big Cottonwood has been turned on to the motors this morning, and Brother Armstrong was desirous that we should examine it before the crowd came. It is very clean and compact and seems very effective. There was between 400 & 500 horse power operating this morning.

From there we drove to the Temple and met with President Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman and George Teasdale.

Correspondence from Elder John W. Taylor was read, and the letters he had written to some of the Bishops for help. It was felt by the Council that a letter should be written to him concerning his method of calling Elders and of asking for funds. It was felt that there is an impropriety in this, and if it were pursued by all the Presidents of Missions it would lead to great confusion.

A letter was read from Brother Anthony Ivins to Brother George Teasdale, reporting the condition of the Mexican Mission.

There is a tendency, which I think ought to be checked, on the part of some of the officers on Missions and in the Stakes to write to members of the Twelve reporting the condition of affairs and asking their counsel. I think there is nothing improper in asking their counsel upon matters generally, if any of the brethren have it to suggest; but it is not the proper order, according to my view – and in this Presidents Woodruff and Smith join- for men on missions who have charge, as for instance Brother Ivins in Mexico, and Presidents of Stakes, to write reports of the condition of their missions and stakes to the Twelve and ask them for counsel. There can be no objection to their writing to the Twelve and reporting affairs in their stakes and missions, and having correspondence with them; but the First Presidency should not be made to depend upon letters sent to the Twelve or anyone else for information concerning affairs over which the First Presidency have the jurisdiction.

Brother Teasdale was mouth in prayer.

After we returned to the office, I dictated a letter to Brother John W. Taylor, which Presidents Woodruff, Smith and myself signed, correcting him on the points that I have mentioned.

26 February 1897 • Friday

Friday, February 26, 1897

Bishop Beatie, of the 17th ward, called at the office to know what course he should pursue if Moses Thatcher presented his recommend that he had brought from Logan to him, to be submitted for the acceptance of the members of the ward. Brother Joseph F. Smith had seen him alone, and had told him that if he presented it he would have to present it to the people. This would be an excellent plan, if the people would do as they should do and decline to accept him or receive him in fellowship; but they cannot be depended upon to do this, for many people sympathize with him and others do not discern the points in the case. When President Smith mentioned it to Presidents Woodruff and myself, I suggested that if the recommend be an old one, Brother Beatie could say to Brother Thatcher: “I see by the date of this recommendation that it has been given some time ago, and as many things have transpired since then which are now matters of public notoriety, I would prefer that you get a recommendation up to the present date, as many things can occur between the issuance of a recommendation and its presentation, if a long time elapses, which might render the recommendation invalid.” Presidents Woodruff and Smith both thought that plan would be the proper one to pursue, and word was sent to Bishop Beatie to that effect.

We had a call from Brother Alonzo Kesler. He wants to obtain a typewriting machine to take with him on his mission, as it would aid him greatly in his labors there. $50 was appropriated for this purpose.

We had a call from L. W. Shurtliff, Joseph E. Taylor, F. J. Allred, A. Hardy, B. H. Greenwood, L. P. Overson and John Hopkins, members of the Legislature. They are part of the eleven Henderson men who prevented the election of Moses Thatcher, and who were the means of electing Jos. L. Rawlins. We had a very interesting conversation with them, and felt to bless them for their fidelity and their willingness to do what was right in an issue so important as that which was raised in this senatorial election.

Afterwards Senator-elect J. L. Rawlins called upon us to say to us that he was going to Washington on Sunday next, and he would be glad to do anything in his power for us in an official way. We spoke to him about the Indian war debt, and the non-payment of one session of the Utah Legislature a few years ago, and also about the rent that we had paid the government for our own property. I also mentioned to him that I had corresponded with Frank in relation to the pay for the balance of term for which I was elected to Congress when the war was made upon us in 1882. To all these matters he said that he would be glad to do anything in his power.

I was busy correcting a letter which I had dictated to the Board of Education concerning a bill for $144 for tuition fees, which had been sent to me from the district school. I consider this a very improper thing to ask me to pay, and in my letter to the Board I think I clearly showed it, because of the heavy city school tax which I pay.

I dictated a number of letters to Brother Arthur Winter.

27 February 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, February 27, 1897

I dictated my journal and other matter to Brother Arthur Winter.

28 February 1897 • Sunday

<Sunday, February 28, 1897>

Following is an account of the proceedings in the Tabernacle this illegible <afternoon>:1

Perhaps the largest number of people that ever assembled in the large Tabernacle was present yesterday afternoon on the occasion of the celebration by the Sunday schools of President Wilford Woodruff’s ninetieth birthday. Not only were the seats all occupied, but the aisles were packed in every part of the immense building.

From the time of the opening of the doors at 1 o’clock until after 2 the Sunday schools and others continued to pour into the Tabernacle en masse, and when the time arrived to commence the services, all seats were taken, and many people were still outside of the building, while several entire schools were turned away, the general public having crowded into the reservation intended for the children. While there was some confusion caused by the gathering of such a large number of children and getting them seated properly, it must be said that altogether they did well and filed in in as orderly a condition as could reasonably be expected.

A brilliant effect was produced when the electric current was turned into the globes forming the beautiful double star and the word Utah in front of the organ. The latter and the large star were composed of clear lights, while the small star within was made up of red lights. The decorations were very tastily arranged throughout and added greatly to the imposing scene.

On the stand were the following:

President Wilford Woodruff, Presidents George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, Elders Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, M. W. Merrill and Anton H. Lund of the Council of Apostles, Patriarch John Smith, Elders Seymour B. Young and George Reynolds of the First Council of Seventies, Elders George Goddard and Karl G. Maeser of the general superintendency of Sunday schools, Elders Angus M. Cannon, Joseph E. Taylor and Charles W. Penrose, presidency of Salt Lake Stake, Elders Thomas C. Griggs, Richard S. Horne and Willard C. Burton, Sunday school superintendency of Salt Lake Stake, Elders J. W. Summerhays, Elias Morris, Henry Dinwoodey, H. P. Richards, Levi W. Richards and George A. Smith, and Sisters Rose Wallace and Sarah A. Gill.

The services commenced at five minutes after two by President George Q. Cannon calling the vast assemblage in order and announcing the opening hymn, We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet, which was rendered by the entire congregation, under the leadership of Professor Evan Stephens. Its rendition visibly affected President Woodruff, and made it necessary for the honored veteran to wipe the teardrops from his eyelids.

An appropriate and feeling prayer was offered by Elder George Teasdale, after which the Sunday schools rendered the hymn, God Speed the Right, under the leadership of Prof. E. K. Bassett.

Elder George Goddard, of the general superintendency of Sunday schools, addressed the congregation. He stated that it was the largest assemblage that had ever been within the walls of the Tabernacle. Notwithstanding this, however, he felt that if desired, he could succeed in restoring order such as to hear the dropping of a pin. He requested of the children present to note in a book after going home the exercises which they had taken part in today. Children should learn to keep a history of their lives and incidents connected with the experiences which they had passed through, that in after years they might recall those pleasant days which they had seen while here upon the earth. The speaker then sang the Sunday school hymn In Our Lovely Deseret, the children present joining in the chorus. At the conclusion of the song the speaker called upon all those assembled to pray for President Woodruff and prophesied that if they paid attention to the words of the song just sang, many would live eighty years hence and be able to testify to taking part in the exercises of today.

Under the direction of Elder George Teasdale all the Sunday school children present recited in concert the Articles of Faith.

Prof. Joseph J. Daynes rendered in pleasing style an organ solo entitled My Father’s Growing Old.

Elder George A. Smith gave a short epitome of the life and labors of President Wilford Woodruff. He spoke of President Woodruff’s acquaintance with Robert Mason, familiarly termed the Prophet Mason, because of his peculiar religious ideas and predictions. Mason told President Woodruff in an interpretation of a dream of the latter’s that in a few years to come he would ally himself with a new church organization which would spring up in due time. This came to pass and made of Mason what he had been frequently termed—a prophet in so far as President Woodruff was concerned. Later on President Woodruff became associated with the Prophet Joseph and others who were afterwards prominent in the Church.

The speaker related many instances connected with the experience of Wilford Woodruff. He told of his connection with Zion’s camp, and of the persecutions that followed many of the Saints in early days. He also called attention to many miraculous occurrences during the life and labors of President Woodruff. The Father had been with His servants in the ministry and they escaped many things which were intended for their injury. President Woodruff was the first missionary to the isles of the sea and was likewise one of the Pioneers of 1847. At two years of age, said the speaker, Wilford Woodruff was scalded nearly to death but recovered. At the age of twelve he was drowned, and after being under twenty feet of water for some minutes, was taken therefrom and resuscitated. When fourteen years old he was bitten by a mad dog, but it had no particular effect on him. In his lifetime he had traveled 175,000 miles to preach the Gospel; he had baptized 2,000 souls into the Church and had written a journal of 7,000 pages covering his work for a period of sixty-two years.

Two verses of the song Is There Anything that We can Do? were sung by the congregation, after which Sister Rose Wallace in a felicitous speech presented President Woodruff in behalf of the Deseret Sunday School Union, with a beautiful basket of ninety roses. Sister Wallace used these words:

President Wilford Woodruff, our beloved Prophet and leader: In behalf of the Deseret Sunday School Union, I greet you on this the ninetieth anniversary of your natal day, and congratulate you that you have reached this advanced age, and rejoice that you are preserved unto us in all the power of your glorious manhood and of your high and holy calling.

We hope and pray that your life will still be precious in the eyes of our Father for years to come; that you may be a blessing and a comfort unto His Saints; and that they shall fill your soul with joy unspeakable by their faithful, earnest efforts to do God’s will; and that you shall live until every holy desire in your heart is satisfied.

We love you, we bless you, Brother Woodruff, with all our soul, and thank you for your gentle guidance; for you have been to us “as a gentle shepherd leading us through the gloom into the bright and glorious day.”

And since our feeble words cannot express the love we bear you nor the joy we feel in your presence, we have brought these beauteous messengers of love, ninety roses, whose hearts are laden with the exquisite fragrance from our heavenly home where all is love.

They are the roses Reverence and Regard,

That know no change,

But bloom forever, though the storm be hard

And ways grow strange.

They are the roses that I bring to you,

Your gaze to greet;

To scent the way you take with fragrance true,

And make life sweet.

Roses to greet you, with a wish from me,

Though skies are drear,

Still may the path you take all fragrant be

Through all the year.

Though roses born of sunlight and June showers

Fade fast away,

There are sweet roses grown in wintrier hours,

That ne’er decay!

President Woodruff then addressed the congregation. He said:

I want to say to my young brethren and sisters and friends in the Sabbath schools established here in the Rocky mountains, God bless you and I feel to bless you, as far as I have the power. I want to say that this is a scene before me today that has overpowered me— it has overpowered my speech. I would rather not say anything, still I I feel I want to make a few remarks to my friends.

I never in my life have been in a similar position to that of today. The scene before me has been a fulfillment to all my prayers from my boyhood up to early manhood. Eighty years ago I was a little boy ten years of age attending school the same as you are here in the mountains of Israel. I read the New Testament. I read of Jacob, I read of the Apostles and the Prophets. I could not find a man on the face of the earth who taught these principles or believed in them. I prayed to the God of heaven that I might live to see a Prophet; that I might live to see an Apostle who would say something that would satisfy me like unto the principles I read of in the New Testament.

Today I stand in the midst of ten thousand young men and women of Israel—sons and daughters of prophets, patriarchs and men of Israel. Men who hold the Holy Priesthood appointed by God of Israel; appointed in the last days to set up and carry these laws and principles of God into effect. It is these principles that we were to look at in the last days. Now I want to say to you as the rising generation, I never expected to see a day of this kind in my life, in my early days. I did expect as it was promised to me to see a prophet. I have lived to see him. I have traveled with prophets and patriarchs and sons of God, I have lived to see this body of intelligence of the sons of the living God, who come here to the meetings of Israel.

I rejoice in this for I see before me the nature of the Latter-day Saints. We cannot say the Bible is a novel—the Bible that contains revelation. I have passed through the periods of boyhood, early manhood and old age, I cannot expect to tarry a great while longer with you but I want to give to you a few words of counsel. You occupy a position in the Church and Kingdom of God and have received the power of the Holy Priesthood. The God of Heaven has appointed you and called you forth in this day and generation. I want you to look at this. Young men listen to the counsel of your elder brethren. Live near to God; pray while young; learn to pray; learn to cultivate the Holy Spirit of God; link it to you and it will become a spirit of revelation unto you, inasmuch as you nourish it. I feel thankful myself that I have lived to see this day. I declare unto you that there are many in the flesh who will remain so until the coming of the Son of Man.

This is about all I wish to say. I feel thankful to my heavenly Father that I see this scene before us this afternoon; that I see the Gospel manifestations on the earth. There has been, as it was stated by our brother, two powers, one to destroy me and the other to save me. And God in heaven has willed to spare me to see this day. He has given me power to reject every testimony and reject every example that leads to evil. I say to you children, do not use tobacco, liquor or any of these things that destroy the body and mind, but honor Him and you will have a mission upon your heads that the world know not of. May God bless you. Amen.

Quartette, We Ever Pray for Thee, specially written for the occasion by Prof. Evan Stephens, was nicely rendered by the little Misses Olga Peterson, Mamie Mills, Annie Peterson and Gertrude Kelly, with a refrain by Brother E. K. Bassett’s choir.

President George Q. Cannon was the next speaker. He said that this was a most memorable occasion and one that would live long in the hearts of those assembled. Ninety years, said the speaker, was a long space of time for mankind to live upon the earth. It was gratifying to know that President Woodruff had held the Apostleship in this Church longer than any man that had lived in this dispensation. The Lord had blessed President Woodruff and had spared him to do a mighty work in helping to roll forth the Church and Kingdom of God.

President Cannon called the attention of the children to the good work which had been done by President Woodruff. He had lived a righteous life upon the earth and had been miraculously spared to see the desires of his heart made manifest. The speaker exhorted the young to emulate the example set them by President Woodruff, as in their declining years they would rejoice in keeping themselves pure and unspotted from the sins of the world. They should keep the Word of Wisdom and God would add His blessings.

The hymn, Song of Praise was rendered by the Sunday schools.

The Lord’s prayer was recited in concert under the leadership of Elder Richard S. Horne of the Sunday School Union board.

Madame von Finkelstein Mountford was the next speaker. She said:

“We are gathered together here in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is one of the greatest scenes that I have ever witnessed in my life. To see so many children, it is like coming into the kingdom of heaven; and before the honorable President here. He must feel today that he is in the kingdom of heaven; for Christ said: “Suffer the little children to come unto me for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And as these little ones are singing here, they seem to have come from the heavenly host above singing “Glory to God and peace on earth.” Long life and good wishes to our noble President. I want to call him my own President. I am one of the children of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is one of the memorable days of my life. I am the daughter of that Zion—the ancient city Zion—and have the privilege and honor to be in this Zion of the Western hemisphere. All that I can compare this gathering to is the one that was held by those who were led by Moses through the desert—the Children of Israel. While crying for bread Moses said to them, I shall pray to God to send you bread. The next morning, when the children of Israel rose up they expected to see great loaves of bread lying ready to eat. They cried, Where, oh where is the bread? Moses said, There is the bread. That was it, around like little seeds. They said, “Manora,” the meaning of which is, “Do you want to starve us with this bread?” Moses said, Go, gather the bread and eat. And they went and gathered and ate, and they were filled. That bread from the heaven was called in the world manna. There is where the word originated—a symbol of praise to the Maker. What is this, that God has sent us into the wilderness? By His mighty power He has led us forth by His servant, in the desert, in the wilderness, and planted us to dwell in this wilderness—brought the children of Israel like mighty Moses through the wilderness. You have faith that with many who came to this place and with them this great man here, through great persecution, yours are many to feed with the breath of life the nations that are to come to you in this Zion. In this we will assemble together; and all that I can feel to say is that I wish truly long peace to this State, and give the glory to God of Israel. It is with you and the children that are here to remember every one of you that ye are the temples of the living God. He is living in you every one. May you live true to Him as our honorable President. He is ninety years old, and it is because he has kept himself pure and unspotted from the world, that he has lived in the world and yet not of the world, in himself and with God, as His Prophet, that he is honored now. May God preserve his life to these children here, and may they from generation to generation observe his counsel. May every blessing be with the honorable President of this great movement; and I hope that our President will live long and that God’s love will rest upon him.”

The closing hymn, What Prize Shall Be Your Reward, was sung by the Sunday schools and benediction was pronounced by Elder George Reynolds.

At the close of the exercises many availed themselves of the opportunity to shake hands with President Woodruff and therefore it was some time before the entire audience was out of the building.2

Today is the 73rd anniversary of the birth of my wife Carlie’s mother, Sister Emily Partridge Young Smith. I went and ate dinner with her and her children at the house of Brother L. G. Hardy. He himself was absent, but his wife, Miriam, was there.

Footnotes

  1. [1]Newspaper clipping

  2. [2]End of clippings