The Church Historian's Press

March 1897

1 March 1897 • Monday

Monday, March 1st, 1897

President Wilford Woodruff is ninety years of age to-day.

In honor of the event a large gathering assembled at the Tabernacle this morning – larger than I anticipated; for I feared that the proceedings of yesterday and the large attendance would detract from the interest to-day; but this was not so. I never heard President Woodruff speak better or more clearly than he did to-day. His voice was full and strong; and though he complained of feeling unwell, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him and gave him strength. I dreaded to speak myself, but I felt very free in my remarks. Following is the newspaper account of the proceedings, taken from the Deseret News of this date:1

According to the arranged program President Woodruff’s ninetieth birthday was celebrated in the large Tabernacle today, commencing at the hour of ten a.m. Before that time arrived the body of the Tabernacle was filled with people and nearly all the seats in the gallery were occupied.

The two center rows of seats for some distance back were reserved for the family and friends of President Woodruff, the members of the Legislature and others, until 10:23, at which time the public were allowed to fill up the remaining unoccupied seats.

The Tabernacle choir occupied its usual position, while Held’s Band was stationed in the east end of the gallery and discoursed sweet music at intervals during the proceedings.

When President Woodruff appeared on the stand at 10:07 o’clock, he received a perfect ovation. The entire congregation arose in a body, and waving their handkerchiefs joined with the choir in singing “Our God we raise to Thee, Thanks for Thy blessings free, We here enjoy.” The scene presented during the singing was very beautiful indeed. While the crowd was not so large as at yesterday’s session, yet all the seats were taken and many people were standing in the aisles and on the stairways leading to the gallery.

The proceedings were opened by the Tabernacle choir singing Noble Chief, after which prayer was offered by President Joseph F. Smith. Choir then sang Hail, Prophet, Brother, Friend.

An address of welcome was then made by President Woodruff. He spoke as follows:

I feel highly honored this morning in meeting with so many of my friends upon this important occasion. Yesterday those who were present might have observed my condition. I was perfectly overwhelmed in consequence of the scene before me. It was not what was said particularly, but it brought to my mind in overwhelming power my boyhood and early manhood and my desires that I might live upon the earth to find a people who would receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by Christ and the Apostles. In meeting with thousands of the children of the Latter-day Saints, it brought to my mind those scenes and the fulfillment of my prayers and desires before the Lord.

I hope this morning I may be able to make a few remarks. I will say this, it has been a desire of my life, from my boyhood up, never to address any assembly of people whom I could not make hear what I had to say. I feel the same this morning; I do not know whether I can make this assembly hear me or not; but I will do the best I can.

As I can hardly expect to ever have the opportunity of addressing the people of this State and my friends in days to come, I have a few reflections upon my mind that I wish to lay before you. And I will say they are different from any of my public speeches that I have been in the habit of presenting to the people. I have consulted no man with regard to the course I should pursue in my remarks here this morning, and I do not know that I shall satisfy my friends in the remarks that I may make.

First, I want to say a few words upon politics. I hope that will not astonish you. I have not been in the habit of this heretofore. But I feel desirous to say a few things that are upon my mind. In the first place, there is not one item, not one sentence in the Constitution of the United States, nor in the laws of the United States, or of the State of Utah, that deprives any citizen, of any name, nature, religion or politics in the land, from joining any political party he wishes or voting for whomsoever he wishes. This is the right of every man without hindrance. We have been accused at times of using Church influence to guide and direct the State. This is occasionally presented to the public as our action. I feel it my right and duty to say here today that I was acquainted with Joseph Smith and associated with him from 1833 until his martyrdom. I have been acquainted with Brigham Young and associated with him for forty years of my life, at home and abroad, under many circumstances. I have also been acquainted with John Taylor and labored with him in every capacity in which he was called to act. I have also been a member of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles for upwards of fifty-six years of my life. And I have been presiding over the Church itself for a few years. I have been associated with my counselors and with the present Twelve Apostles. And I want to say upon this occasion, before God, angels and all men that are before me, that I never in one instance have ever known any leader of this Church ever attempt to dictate and direct the affairs of the State as [a] member of the Church. At the same time, when any man, no matter who he is—Mormon, Jew or Gentile—goes forth and uses money or any means to hire men to vote for him, I think he steps outside of his right, and stand in a measure responsible.

I want to say so much to my friends this morning. I have officiated for twenty sessions in the Legislative Council of the Territory of Utah, and one session as a member of the House, and it never cost me one farthing for any office I ever held in the Church or in the State or Territory. And I never asked any mortal man on the face of the earth to cast a vote for me that I have any recollection of. As an ensample, perhaps I may be permitted to say, I am the father of fourteen sons and have a number of sons-in-law, and I believe they are pretty nearly evenly divided on political party lines—Democrats and Republicans. I will give any man five dollars if in conversing with them he can get any one of them to say that his father ever told him who to vote for. Some of you may try to make a little money perhaps at that. (Laughter.) I consider everybody is responsible for himself, and he has a right to vote for whom he pleases.

Again, I never asked any office at the hands of any being in heaven or on earth, not even of my heavenly Father, except upon one instance, which I will relate here. In my boyhood, as you have heard me testify, I went to the Sabbath schools. I read the New Testament. I saw the doctrine there portrayed in plainness, as taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, and it was a glorious doctrine. I had a great desire to live on the earth until I could see inspired men who could teach me those principles that I read of in the New Testament. I prayed a great deal in my boyhood and my early manhood that I might live on the earth to receive those principles that I there read of in the New Testament. In 1833, for the first time in my life, I saw an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was Zera Pulsipher. He told me that he was inspired of the Lord. He was threshing grain in his barn when the voice of the Lord came to him and told him to arise and go to the north, the Lord had business for him there. He called upon Brother Cheney, his neighbor and a member of the Church. They traveled sixty miles on foot, in February, in deep snow, and the first place they felt impressed to call upon was the house of my brother and myself. They went into the house and talked with my brother’s wife, and they told her who they were and what their business was. They told her that they were moved upon to go to the north, and they never felt impressed to stop anywhere until they came to that house. When they told her their principles, she said her husband and her brother-in-law both were men who believed those principles, and they had prayed for them for years. They appointed a meeting in the schoolhouse upon our farm. I came home in the evening, and my sister-in-law told me of this meeting. I had been drawing logs from the shores of Lake Ontario (I was in the lumber business), and I turned out my horses, did not stop to eat anything, and went to the meeting. I found the house and the dooryard filled with people. I listened for the first time in my life to a Gospel sermon as taught by the Elders of this Church. It was what I had sought for from my boyhood up. I invited the men home with me. I borrowed the Book of Mormon, and sat up all that night and read. In the morning I told Brother Pulsipher I wanted to be baptized. I had a testimony for myself that those principles were true. Myself and my brother, as was stated here yesterday, went forth and were baptized—the two first in that county. That was the beginning of my connection with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

At this point I will say, upon the subject of religion, what are the rights of men upon religious subjects? I do not know that I can do better than to quote Brother Joseph Smith’s remarks before thousands of people at a conference in Nauvoo, when there were many non-Mormons present. He said, “If I were the emperor of the world and I had power to control the whole human family, I would sustain every man, woman and child in the enjoyment of their religion.” Those are my sentiments today. I believe every man—Jew, Catholic, Protestant, or anything—has a right to enjoy his religion unmolested. I believe the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the United States guarantee this blessing and privilege to everybody. In fact, I believe that even Robert Ingersoll and his followers have a right to their opinions and to enjoy the same; they have a right to their views with regard to God, to Christ, to the heavens and earth, to the present and the future. Still I will say, I believe that when Robert Ingersoll goes into the spirit world he will find the Bible is not a novel. He will learn that there if never before. He will learn that the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made is not a burlesque, but that that was done for the salvation of the world. And he will find that there will be a God there, there will be a heaven there, there will be a hell there, there will be everything there of which the Bible has spoken concerning it.

In the spring after I was baptized, I went to Kirtland. There I met with the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. I met those men that afterwards formed the quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I traveled with Joseph Smith and with that company of men—205 of them—one thousand miles to the Missouri to assist our brethren in their difficulties. They had been driven from their homes and their lands, from Jackson county into Clay county. We traveled a thousand miles together. There I had my first experience of the dealings of God with the Prophet of God. I understood perfectly well that he was a prophet. I read the vision, I read his revelations, and I knew they could not come from any man on the face of the earth only by the inspiration of Almighty God. From Missouri I commenced my mission under Bishop Partridge. In other words, I will say that while there I had a great desire to preach the Gospel. I had that desire from my boyhood up. I had been a miller, and I had walked my mill hours and hours in the night, with my soul filled with these desires to preach the Gospel to the children of men. At the time I speak of I was a Teacher, and had no power and authority to go forth and preach. I went one Sunday into the forest there in Clay county. I was living with Lyman Wight, with half a dozen of the signers of the Book of Mormon—the Cowderys, the Whitmers, Judge Higbee, etc. I went off by myself and prayed to the Lord that I might have the privilege of preaching the Gospel to my fellowmen. That is all the office that I ever asked of the Lord or anybody else, as far as that is concerned. While praying the Lord gave me His spirit and answered me that my prayers were heard and would be answered upon my head, and that that I had asked for should be given me. I walked two or three hundred yards out of the forest into an open—a broad highway—in the midst of the forest, and there I saw Judge Higbee standing in the middle of the road with his arms folded. I walked up to him, and when I got to him he says, “Wilford, the Lord has revealed to me that it is your duty to be ordained to go and preach the Gospel.” I said, “Is that so?” He said, “Yes.” “Well,” says I, “if the Lord wants me to preach the Gospel I am ready to go and do it to the best of my ability.” I did not tell him that I had been praying for it. My mission commenced there and it never has ended to the present hour. I have had a responsibility resting upon me in connection with my brethren.

Now, before I close, I will again bear my testimony that this work is of God. This tabernacle that you are in today was seen by the Prophet Isaiah and other prophets, and they spoke of it, as well as the temples that are built in the valleys of the mountains. All have been pointed out by the prophets of God, and the Lord revealed to Isaiah, Jeremiah and many other prophets, our day, our history, our lives, our position in this immense barren desert which has been occupied by the Latter-day Saints, and is as we see it today through the blessings of God. I will bear my testimony to the world to my friends of the Church and the State, and to all men under heaven, that this is the truth of God. The Lord almighty has set His hand to accomplish the work. Joseph Smith was raised up by the power of God and the revelations of Jesus Christ to organize this Church and kingdom in the dispensation of the fullness of times. His life was short, as was the Savior’s. But it was a great work that he performed in the flesh. The Savior lived about three and a half years after he entered the ministry. Joseph Smith lived some fourteen years from the time he received the plates and translated them into the English language. He laid down his life, as did Christ and His Apostles, for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ. He will rise in his glorified celestial body and meet again with his brethren the Apostles and Elders of Israel and this people, and will stand in days to come as the leader among us in celestial glory. I feel to bear my testimony to this. It matters not about the unbelief of men. They cannot turn away the work of Almighty God. The Lord has set His hand to carry out these great principles which He has revealed, the establishing of the Zion of God and the preparation for the coming of the Son of Man. What has been said about the mountains of Israel will have its fulfillment. The judgments of God will follow in the earth in fulfillment of what has been said, and no power on earth can stay them. I am anxious, although my life has been preserved to this great age, I still am anxious that we as a people may do our duty, may live our religion, may keep the faith, may so walk before the Lord that the Holy Ghost may be our constant companion to lead us in the days that lie before us. This is my prayer and my desire, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The choir and congregation sang God Moves in a Mysterious Way, which was followed by a short address by President Lorenzo Snow.

President Snow bore testimony to the truthfulness of the remarks of President Woodruff. He had been acquainted with him sixty years, commencing in Kirtland. President Woodruff was a man who had always acted in harmony with the leaders of the Church, never taking exceptions to the instructions promulgated by those who were in authority. The Church had never acted in hostility to people of outside religious denominations. It had always encouraged settlement in our midst and had attempted to treat all with fairness and respect. The audience to which he spoke was one made up of nearly all classes of people. They had gathered together on invitation in order to participate in honoring President Woodruff on the ninetieth anniversary of his birth.

All people had a perfect right to worship whom they pleased, but they should do so conscientiously. They could take a lesson from the example set by President Woodruff, as he had lived a life of purity and holiness, always trying to make the world better for his having lived.

Held’s band under the direction of Prof. John Held, rendered in fine style, a medley of beautiful airs.

President George Q. Cannon addressed the assemblage. He said that in standing before such a vast audience one was led to keenly feel the insignificance of man. The assemblage recalled to his mind an occasion of great joy which took place here in 1849, the purpose being to celebrate the advent of the Pioneers into this valley. At that time feasting, dancing, etc., was indulged in, and thanks was given to God for the bounteous blessings He had bestowed upon His people.

A great change had taken place since then. The inter-mountain country, then a barren desert, had been quite thickly populated and now blossomed as the rose through the efforts of the sturdy, Godfearing men and women who first settled this valley, coupled with the blessings of the Father. President Woodruff had been a husbandman in his day, and to him belonged the credit of planting the first potato in the valley.

This was a most momentous period in the world’s history, and through the ninety years of President Woodruff’s life, he had witnessed many scenes and had seen a great many changes take place. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ had made great strides in the years of its organization, and it would continue to grow and flourish in the earth until God’s purposes had been accomplished. It was destined to revolutionize the whole world and if lived up to by the people of the earth, would make mankind happier and give them a hope and a knowledge of that which would greet them in the life to come.

The entrance of the Pioneers into this valley, would be dwelt upon more and more as the years rolled on. The day would come when it would mark an epoch in the world’s history and one of the central figures thereof would be President Woodruff who was being honored today. A more honest man it would be hard to find. Always quiet and unassuming he held a love in his heart for all his fellow men, and his love had been reciprocated by the many friends which he had made while on this mortal sphere.

The speaker felt that the sound of President Woodruff’s voice should be engraved upon the cylinders of a phonograph, that in after years the young and rising generation might enjoy its sweet and loving vibrations. He was a man of the utmost integrity and as such he would forever be held in loving remembrance.

President Cannon in conclusion felt not to too highly praise mankind, for he feared that the Saints by so doing would almost become man-worshippers. But the words which had been spoken concerning President Woodruff were true, and his devotion and fealty to the work of God, brought out a desire among the Saints to do him honor. He was the only living Apostle that had acted in such capacity with the Prophet Joseph Smith and as such he was looked upon as a rare treasure. The speaker’s desire was that God would spare President Woodruff’s life among us, that he might live many years more to be a comfort and a consolation unto the Latter-day Saints. This, said he, would undoubtedly be the prayer of all the Latter-day Saints upon the earth.

The choir sang the anthem, Let the Mountains Shout for Joy, directly followed by the congregation arising and joining in singing the Doxology. Benediction was pronounced by Elder Brigham Young.


At the conclusion of the exercises the reception was begun, President and Mrs. Woodruff being seated on armchairs beneath a canopy of bunting and surrounded by masses of beautiful flowers. The first to shake hands with the venerable President and his wife was Governor Heber M. Wells. Then followed members of the Legislature, the lady members first and the gentlemen afterwards. Then came the general public, the reception lasting upwards of an hour.2

After the reception (and I suppose there must have been upwards of 4000 people who shook hands with President Woodruff and his wife) he drove home, and I went to the office.

At 3 o’clock I attended a stockholders’ meeting of the B.B.&C. Mining Co. The officers elected were, John Beck, President & Manager; myself, Vice President & Director; W. S. McCornick, Treasurer & Director; H. B. Clawson, Simon Bamberger, Hyrum Beck and C. W. Stayner, Directors, and Walter J. Beatie, Secretary of the Co.

From there I took car to President Woodruff’s, he having invited myself and a wife to dine with them. There was a large gathering at his house, consisting principally of his own family. The time was spent very pleasantly till 7:30, when I and my wife Martha withdrew, our carriage having come for us. I left my wife at the theatre and drove to Brother H. B. Clawson’s, it being the 48th anniversary of his wife Emily’s birth. They had got up a surprise party for her, in which my wife Carlie expected to take part, but her health is not good (she is threatened with quinsey); so I merely called to pay my respects and stayed about 20 mins., and then drove home.

2 March 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 2, 1897.

There was a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Co., at which considerable business was done, and it was suggested that an agent be selected to go east to arrange for the sale of bonds that shall cover the combined property of the Pioneer, Big Cottonwood and Salt Lake & Ogden Companies. The subject was talked of for some time and then left for us to ponder upon until next Friday at 10 o’clock, when it is expected the Company will again meet.

3 March 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 3, 1897

Brother Hansen, of Garfield County, called on me to talk over a case of a woman whose husband committed suicide, and who wanted to be sealed to him.

Spencer Clawson, who is the chairman of the Semi-Centennial Commission, called upon us and had a lengthy conversation concerning that affair, and in response to his request for us to name somebody as Director General of it, we suggested Brigham Young, as from what he said the duties of that position would not interfere with Brother Brigham’s present labors.

At 1 o’clock there was a meeting of Zion’s Savings Bank & Trust Co.

4 March 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, March 4th, 1897

At 11 o’clock we met in the Temple. Beside the First Presidency, Brothers Snow, Richards, Young, Lyman, and Teasdale were present.

We had quite a lengthy conversation concerning the situation of affairs in our country at the present time in regard to the young men and young women, and what could be done to meet certain conditions that exist. For instance, where men had wives that were barren; can anything be done to meet such cases, and to enable a man who is in such circumstances to take a wife that will bear him children? Cases, too, of young women whose husbands died and they were left childless. Under present circumstances there were three alternatives presented to such a woman: (1) to marry a man that was not in the Church, (2) a Latter-day Saint who was careless and cared nothing about the future, or (3) remain a widow the rest of her life; because a good Latter-day Saint, when he marries, wants a woman for himself both for time and eternity. I brought this subject up, because I feel very much impressed with the necessity of some plan being devised, if possible, to bring about a different condition of things among us. It seems that unless something is done we shall be threatened with whoredoms and marriages outside of the Church. Personally I feel that, rather than my daughters should remain old maids, I would have them make a contract with good honorable men that they would be true to each other during their natural lives, or until they could have the ordinances performed, and have them raise children by men of this kind, than that they should be exposed to the evils that exist. But this is a subject surrounded with many difficulties. As far as the will of the Lord is concerned, I feel confident that there would be no sin, under our circumstances, in a couple getting together in the presence of witnesses and making solemn covenant with each other, and having a record made of it, to be true to each other. But even that appears impracticable, because women would be looked upon as unvirtuous, and the children being born would give evidence that they had had connection which would be looked upon as illicit with the other sex. And then such an arrangement, however pure it might be in its operation, others not knowing the circumstances, but seeing the relationship, would be tempted to form illicit connections and indulge in licentiousness. We feel, however, that the Lord, knowing our circumstances, will give light on this subject, and all the Council felt that we should pray to the Lord for light, so as to know what to do.

5 March 1897 • Friday

Friday, March 5, 1897

At 10 o’clock this morning there was a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Co., and it was decided that Le Grand Young should be selected to go east as the agent to do the business referred to in the meeting held on Tuesday last.

We had a call from Dr. Anderson, a young man who has been studying medicine and surgery in the east for the past five years. He is a native of Lehi, but was a student and a teacher at the Brigham Young Academy for some four years. He thinks of locating in this city, and called upon us to pay his respects and to see whether we had any objections to this.

6 March 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, March 6, 1897

Busy all day at the office dictating to Brother Arthur Winter.

7 March 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, March 7, 1897

This morning a large assemblage of Sunday school children gathered in the Tabernacle, and we had a repetition of last Sunday’s services. Most of the children were those who could not get admission to the Tabernacle last Sunday, and an invitation was given to all the schools to be present if they wished. The children passed in review before Presidents Woodruff, Smith and myself.

Before we separated a tremendous snowstorm started and made it very unpleasant for us.

In the afternoon I attended the testimony meeting in the ward, it being fast day, and in the evening we had sacrament meeting. Brother Gold and the Bishop occupied the time in speaking.

My wife Carlie is still in a very low condition. I am much concerned about her.

8 March 1897 • Monday

Monday, March 8, 1897

Carlie’s sickness still continues without alleviation. I administered to her this morning before leaving. I felt very much exercised about her and endeavored to plead with the Lord with all the faith I had in her behalf. Shortly after I reached the office my daughter Carol telephoned me that her mother’s throat had burst inside and she was relieved. I felt inexpressibly grateful for the news.

9 March 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 9, 1897

Brother A. M. Musser has been very desirous to receive the appointment of Fish and Game Commissioner, and the First Presidency have expressed their wishes to Governor Wells that if convenient and agreeable to him they would like Brother Musser to receive the appointment, if it had not already been made. My son John Q. came to us this morning, at the request of the Governor, to explain the position of affairs. Governor Wells considers that Brother Musser has acted quite improperly in relation to this matter. Because he did not receive the appointment before, he published that it was a flagrant outrage, and he has treated the Governor with discourtesy in other ways, and made it, as Gov. Wells thinks, impossible for him to give him the appointment. After listening to the word that had been sent we expressed ourselves to the effect that the Governor must do as he felt about this.

We had an interview with Brother Brothers B. H. Roberts and Alonzo Kesler in relation to the Eastern States Mission. It had been thought that perhaps it would be a good plan to separate the Eastern States Mission and make two missions of it, making the Delaware river the dividing line, attaching the western part of Pennsylvania and all of West Virginia and Maryland to what would be called the Central Mission, for which we had some thought of putting Brother Geo. D. Pyper in charge, and leaving New Jersey and New York and the New England States to Brother Kesler; but after hearing the situation of the saints, how few there were in the field that Brother Kesler would have, it was decided for the present to leave matters as they are. Still it was decided to write to the President of the Southern States Mission and to the President of the Northern States Mission upon the subject of separating from their mission a part of Pennsylvania and a part of West Virginia.

President Shurtliff called to see us about some legislation, and we had some conversation with him concerning the disposition which was exhibited by the Senate to reject the appointment of Brother John Nicholson as an Arbitrator under the law, his name having been sent to the Senate by the Governor for confirmation. It seems that the Senate, because they have been elected on a silver platform, consider it their duty to reject the appointment of a man who is what they call a “goldbug” Republican. They want “silver” Republicans nominated. The law is that there shall be out of seven, four of one party and three of another. To me it appeared very ridiculous to reject Brother Nicholson on the ground that he had voted for McKinley. I said to Brother Shurtliff that that was what was intended by the law, to have men of opposite political views selected; and for our Senators to reject a man on that account was, it seemed to me, in entire antagonism to the law itself.

Brother Abram Hatch, who has just returned with his wife from a visit to Mexico, called and we had an interesting conversation with him concerning Mexico and its present condition. Brother Hatch has become a much stronger advocate of the rights of the Priesthood than I think he was in former days; not that I ever knew him to be weak on that, but I never knew him so outspoken as he is at present. He thinks the Presidency of the Church ought to assert themselves and make their influence felt in the country. His visit to Mexico has impressed him with the advantage of having a good, sensible man, – a strong man, too, – at the head of the government, such as Diaz is. Mexico is prospering under his administration.

10 March 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 10,1897

When I reached the office this morning I found that President Woodruff’s folks had been telephoning to my home for me and had sent a message also to the city. He was quite sick and wanted to see me. I went there and spent some time with him. I found that he had a very bad night last night and was suffering considerably from pain in the bowels. I administered to him. Brother Jaques anointed him, he having come down to see him.

11 March 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, March 11, 1897

I telephoned to President Woodruff’s this morning and found that he had much improved and intended to come to the office.

Colonel Clayton returned from the east this morning.

At 11 o’clock the First Presidency met with President Snow, F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, Geo. Teasdale, John W. Taylor and M. W. Merrill. Some inquiries were made by President Snow concerning the sisters who worked in the temple having the privilege of wearing white kid slippers instead of mocassins, the mocassins being cold to their feet. It was decided that they should have that privilege.

The case of the Catawba Indians that wanted to get land on the Uintah Reservation was considered. I remarked that I thought it poor policy for us to take people who had been accustomed to warm climates and settle them in our cold regions. These Catawba Indians were, to all appearance, white people and civilized, and they lived in a warm climate. Would it not be better, I asked, for them to be located in Mexico? Brothers John Henry Smith and Heber J. Grant had written a letter to the First Presidency in which they described the condition of the saints in Mexico, how they were prospering, &c., and I suggested that it would be a good thing, as Brother Lyman had this case in hand, for him to correspond with Brother Ivins, of Mexico, and learn whether there was not some point in that country that would be suitable for these Catawba Indians to settle. There was one advantage in Mexico: Indians were thought to be pretty good people, and have rights there. In this country Indians have very few rights. Besides, the climate there was much more congenial and suitable for people who had lived in North Carolina than the Uintah Reservation would be. The suggestion I made was endorsed by President Woodruff, and Brother Lyman was instructed to carry it out and to write to Brother Ivins. I entertain the same views about all the Polynesian races.

We had quite a conversation in relation to the Word of Wisdom. Brother Lorenzo Snow took the view that a great deal of means was spent in the purchase of meats that ought not to be, and that the people should be particular about killing animals to eat, and he read from the Doctrine and Covenants to substantiate his views. I also spoke and gave my views at some length in relation to diet.

Brother John W. Taylor gave a report of his labors in Colorado.

From the Temple we went to the Tabernacle and listened to an organ recital by Brother McLellan. I never heard the organ played so well.

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

12 March 1897 • Friday

Friday, March 12, 1897

I went to Ogden in company with Colonel Winder and Judge Young, and spent the day at the office of the Pioneer Electric Power Co. trying to reach some basis of settlement with Mr. Rhodes. We came to a conclusion on our side as to what we thought we would be willing to do, but we did not close the business up, as we had to go back on the train.

After I reached Salt Lake City I came up to the office and did some business before going home.

President Woodruff had his son-in-law, Joseph J. Daynes, Jr., at the office with his phonograph, in which he wanted President Woodruff to talk. The latter had a statement drawn out in writing which he read into the phonograph, and myself and President Smith added our testimony that we had listened to the testimony of President Woodruff. Brother Daynes then set the machine going and we listened to the testimony repeated back in President Woodruff’s own voice. My own testimony I would not have distinguished. I was hoarse and my voice sounded gruff and unnatural.

13 March 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, March 13, 1897

Came up to the office this morning early and spent some little time with Judge Young and Col. Winder and Mr. Rhodes, and then left, in company with President Jos. F. Smith, in time to catch the Salt Lake & Ogden train for East Bountiful.

We were met at Bountiful by a carriage and taken to the meeting house. The conference had opened when we reached there. After remarks by Prest. John W. Hess as to the condition of the Stake, he turned the meeting over to me, and I called upon President Smith to speak, which he did for 40 mins.; but he did not feel very free. I occupied the remainder of the time and spoke with a great deal of power, so much so that the people almost trembled.

We had dinner at Bishop Stoker’s.

Brother B. H. Roberts was called upon in the afternoon, and he spoke for about 80 mins. In the course of his remarks he alluded to what I had said in the morning, and said that he, for one, and the rest too, wanted a chance to show their devotion to the Lord and their repentance of acts that they had committed. He made a comparison of the situation to an incident in the life of Napoleon, where one of the divisions of the army had lost its standard and they begged the opportunity to retrieve their character for courage, and they were permitted by Napoleon to do so, and they fought desperately and regained their standard. He applied this to himself and others.

I followed him and spoke about half an hour with great freedom.

We returned to Salt Lake City in the evening.

14 March 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, March 14, 1897

Went to Bountiful again this morning and reached there at 9:15. The Sunday schools had convened, and I had an interesting time with them. Myself, President Smith and Brother John Nicholson spoke to them.

The conference opened at 10:30, and I called upon President Jos. F. Smith to speak, and he delivered a most powerful address in relation to the situation of affairs connected with Moses Thatcher.

We again had dinner at Brother Stoker’s.

In the afternoon the sacrament was administered, and Brother John Nicholson spoke for about half an hour with great plainness and force. I spoke about 70 mins. and had great freedom. I felt led to speak in relation to affairs that had taken place connected with the Bullion, Beck & Champion Mining Co. and the action of Moses Thatcher. I have never said anything of this in public before; but after what President Smith had said in the morning, my mind was led in that direction. I think the effect was good. Several came to me afterwards and expressed their pleasure at hearing what had been said.

As we were returning on the car to Salt Lake City I was somewhat surprised, in response to a question which I asked Brother B. S. Young, (who with his wife, Isaac Clayton & wife, Sister May Babcock and Brother John Donaldson, was on the car) to learn that they had not attended conference, and one of them remarked that they did not know there was a conference. They had been at Bountiful, they said, visiting. We have heard that there are secret meetings held there at Brother Chas. W. Stayner’s, and by these individuals (excepting Brother & Sister Clayton), and it struck me very unfavorably to know that they were in Bountiful and yet they apparently not be aware that there was a conference being held there, so absorbed were they in visiting somebody.

15 March 1897 • Monday

Monday, March 15, 1897

There was a meeting of the Sugar Co. this morning, a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Co., and then a meeting of Z.C.M.I.

16 March 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 16, 1897

Attended a meeting of the Brigham Young Trust Co. this morning, afterwards a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Co., at which considerable business was done.

We had a call from Brother Lewis A Kelsch, who presides over the Northern States Mission. He returned with a sick Elder, and expects to go back on Thursday next.

I dictated my journal and other matters to Brother Winter.

17 March 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 17, 1897

President Jos. F. Smith and his wife, accompanied by Brother W. C. Spence and wife, went east last evening, to be gone about two weeks.

President Woodruff and myself had a protracted meeting this morning with Col. N. W. Clayton, W. W. Cluff, Arthur Winter, and J. E. Pettit (the foreman of the Grass Creek mine). The situation of the coal properties was brought very forcibly to our attention, and I acknowledged how disappointed I was at learning the situation of the Cullen mine. I am led to conclude, from all we can learn, that it is not nearly so valuable a property as we supposed when it was purchased. After considerable conversation, it was concluded that a committee, consisting of N. W. Clayton, W. W. Cluff, R. P. Morris, Bishop Bowns, and J. E. Pettit, examine the property and see (1) concerning the quality of the coal in the Church mine, (2) its quantity, (3) the cost of preparing it for market, and any other points that would throw light upon the subject, to report as soon as practicable.

President Woodruff and myself had a conversation with Brother Brigham Young concerning the complaints of the people who had purchased lands from the College at Logan.

18 March 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, March 18, 1897

Dr. Talmage, of the University, came this morning to the office early and had a somewhat lengthy interview with me concerning the situation of affairs. He related circumstances which would seem to make it necessary that he should either resign the position of President of the University or that of Professor of Geology. It appeared to me, I said, personally, that it would be preferable for him to retain the Presidency of the Institution, because he could control, to a very great extent, the spirit of the institution and his presence would tend to prevent any anti-Mormonism creeping in. The professorship of geology is a somewhat difficult place to fill, because there are none of our people who are sufficiently advanced to take it, though there are one or two that would do as instructors under a professor.

Sisters Zina D. Young and Bathsheba W. Smith came to see the Presidency about getting a piece of land on which to build a hall for the use of the sisters. In the first place, we have no piece of land; in the second place, we do not think it wise, in the present straitened circumstances of the Church and the people, to undertake the erection of a building like they wanted. We suggested that they should begin to gather means looking to the erection of such a house, and if they succeeded in this we thought there would not be much difficulty in obtaining a place on which to build.

Brother Albert Brown, who is on the verge of 90 years of age, and who was one of Zion’s Camp, came in to see us and ask some questions concerning doctrine. President Woodruff and myself laid our hands upon him and ordained him a Patriarch in the Church, I being mouth.

President Woodruff and myself went to the temple and met with President Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman and George Teasdale. Nothing special was done, except to hear a report from Brother Brigham Young concerning the case of Moses Thatcher. Suggestions were made by myself as to the method of dealing with it.

I related to the brethren what I had noticed last Sunday on the car coming from Bountiful, concerning Brother B. S. Young and his companions. This led to a recital by President Lorenzo Snow of a conversation that was had between himself and Bishop Orson F. Whitney. It seems that Miss Babcock intends to be married to Brother C. W. Stayner, and expected to be able to have the ceremony performed in the temple. Brother Snow had suggested to John Nicholson to have conversation with her, which he had for upwards of half an hour; but she was determined in her conclusion to be married to him and surprised that she could not be married in the temple. Brother Whitney afterwards came and saw President Snow, who supposed at first, from the questions asked, that Brother Whitney wished to have some lady (Sister Babcock, he thought) sealed perhaps to himself (there has been a great deal of talk at one time and another concerning her attachment to Bishop Whitney); but after conversing some time he learned that Bishop Whitney did not consider that it was the will of the Lord that he should take May Babcock, and he was speaking for Brother Stayner. He also had the idea that the marriage could be solemnized in the temple. Brother Snow told him, no, there was nothing of that kind done in the temple, and said further to Brother Whitney, that Brother Stayner was a bad man, which appeared to startle Brother Whitney, and which he did not seem to accept, for on parting with Brother Snow he remarked that he hoped he would change his views concerning Brother Stayner, as he was a very good man. There is a feeling in the Council that there is something wrong in that quarter, and this suspicion arises from hearing there are secret meetings being held by them.

19 March 1897 • Friday

Friday, March 19, 1897

I am pleased at the improvement there is in the health of my wife, and, as she reports to me, of our little daughter.

I have been informed that my son John Q. was very sick, and I went to his house this morning. He has been suffering for over a week with an intense headache, which almost seemed to paralyze him. He cannot account for it, unless it is an attack of la grippe. He looks wretchedly. I administered to him and felt well in doing so.

At the office I attended to a lot of Pioneer Power Co. business, and dictated my journal and other matter to Brother Winter.

20 March 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, March 20, 1897

Busy all day arranging my desk and examining my papers, &c.

21 March 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, March 21, 1897

At 8 o’clock this morning I started for Brigham City. Reached there at 10, and was driven immediately to the meeting house. Brother Franklin D. Richards, Bishop Preston, Brother C. W. Penrose and wife, and Bishop H. B. Clawson and wife came up on the same train. The purpose of our visit was to dedicate the meeting house, which had been destroyed by fire about 13 months ago and since rebuilt. It is now a very elegant structure, and it seats comfortably over 1500 people. This speaks well for the enterprise of the Presidency and people of the Stake. The reconstruction has cost a little over $15,000. After the opening of the meeting, Prest. Rudger Clawson read a statement of the receipts and expenditures, showing $22.04 still due, and I proposed that that should be raised before the dedication, and contributed $5 towards it myself. The house was crowded. Brother Franklin D. Richards addressed the people, and I followed.

In the afternoon the sacrament was administered, and Bishop Preston and Bishop Clawson spoke, after which the dedicatory prayer was offered by myself, and then I spoke to the people.

In the evening we held another meeting. It had been my intention to have returned home, but when I learned they were going to have a meeting, I thought it my duty to remain. Brothers Richards and Preston returned. Brother Seymour B. Young spoke for some 63 mins., Brother Lorenzo Snow for about 15 mins., and at his pressing request I occupied the remainder of the time.

These meetings have been very delightful. I have been led to speak with exceeding plainness.

I was entertained by Brother Rudger Clawson.

22 March 1897 • Monday

Monday, March 22, 1897

I arose early this morning, breakfasted, and reached the train at 6:45, and we landed at Salt Lake City at 9:05. Went up to the office.

President Woodruff and myself had a call this morning from Sister Emmeline B. Wells, who brought Miss A. M. Beecher, a cousin of Henry Ward Beecher, who is passing through here and is deeply interested in what she sees. She is evidently a strongminded, intellectual woman. It is said she is upwards of 70 years of age; if so, she bears her years remarkably well.

We had an interview with Brother Richard Morris to-day in relation to acting on a committee that we have appointed to go out to Grass Creek and examine our coal property there.

23 March 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 23, 1897

We had a meeting this morning at the office with a committee of brethren from Herriman. The object of their call was to get counsel from the First Presidency as to the course of action they should take in a case involving the water supply of Herriman.

At 10:30 this morning there was a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Co. Before the meeting, Judge Patton called me out and informed me that he had disposed of his stock to me, through Le Grand Young, for $1200, and he handed me a paper signed by his wife and himself to this effect. He wanted to get $200 advance on that, if it were possible, and I arranged with Mr. Bannister to let him have $200, although the contract was that we were to have sixty days in which to pay the amount. He informed me also that he would resign as director whenever we wanted him to.

Mr. Rhodes and his clerk, Mr. Quentin, met with us, and we had some conversation as to the terms of settlement. Our proposition did not suit him, and he suggested that he should withdraw and leave us to discuss it further. We did so, and concluded upon what we would do; but as he had gone off, we adjourned until 2 o’clock, when we met again and made our proposition to him, which he accepted. As there was a difference of $800 in another matter, it was agreed that we should divide that and allow him $400. This closed up our contract with Mr. Rhodes, and considering that it amounts to somewhere about $600,000, I think it quite satisfactory. Mr. Rhodes doubtless has his faults; but we have got along very well with him, and he with us, and we parted with mutual expressions of good will and respect.

I had been invited to attend a reception to be given to ex-Senator Arthur Brown and his wife at the Knutsford Hotel this evening at 8:30. They had the names of myself and wife published on the committee of reception. I had sent to them word that I preferred not acting in that capacity, because I did not wish to be too prominent in such functions; but I felt that I owed it to Senator Brown to call and pay my respects, which I did. There was a very large attendance. The host, Mr. Holmes, was very attentive to me. As Mr. Brown had not arrived, I held a sort of reception. Some of the gentlemen said that my reception was a larger one than his. There was quite an anxiety on the part of many of the ladies and gentlemen to be introduced to me. I did not remain long. They had refreshments and dancing, but I did not participate in them.

24 March 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 24, 1897

We had a call from Brother William T. Jack, who has been appointed to preside over the Indian Territory Mission. Brother Andrew Kimball, who has been presiding, has been a very effective worker. Though he has been residing at home, he has visited the mission several times, and has done very good service; but it is felt that there is an incongruity in a man presiding over a mission from his home, and that the Elders laboring there do not have the same credit and justice done them that they would have if they were under their own control. Brother Kimball has been spoken to upon the subject, and he sees the propriety of a change. Upon being asked, he suggested Bro. William T. Jack as a suitable man to preside there. President Woodruff and myself had conversation with him this morning, and Brother Jack expressed himself ready to go upon the 10th of April if needed so soon.

We had a call from Spencer Clawson and Bishop Preston and talked over a number of affairs connected with the Semi-Centennial Jubilee, and President Woodruff, as Trustee-in-Trust, subscribed $2000 towards it.

25 March 1897 • Thursday

Thursday, March 25,1897

I dictated my journal to Brother Winter.

I omitted to mention in my journal of yesterday that my brother Angus and myself called to see Brother Brigham Young, who is seriously sick. I was shocked at seeing him, his skin was so yellow; but that did not pain me so much as to see his urine, which looked like blood, except that it was darker and the chamber was coated with a brickdust sediment. We administered to him.

At 11 o’clock President Woodruff and myself and President L. Snow, F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, G. Teasdale and A. H. Lund met at the temple and attended to prayer. Brother Lund was mouth. There was not much business done. Conversation was had upon the situation of the “Bikuben”, the Swedish newspaper, which is very much in debt. This was referred to Brother Lund, for him to make an examination and report.

At 2 o’clock I attended the funeral services, in the 22nd Ward meeting house, of Sister Elizabeth Noall, the wife of Brother Matthew Noall, who died last Sunday. The house was crowded. The case was one that appealed very strongly to the sympathy of all who heard of it. She has died leaving a family of small children, and she is a woman that was very highly esteemed. I do not know that I ever listened to more feeling expressions concerning a woman’s worth than came from the brethren who spoke at this meeting. She has been a missionary to the Sandwich Islands, acquired the language better than any woman of our people has ever done, and devoted herself to laboring among the sisters with a zeal that excited the admiration of all who knew her. Brothers J. H. Dean, Isaac Grace, Fred Beesley, Sister Mary Freeze, my brother Angus, Bishop Solomon, all spoke in the most feeling manner, and I spoke for about 30 minutes.

26 March 1897 • Friday

Friday, March 26, 1897.

President Woodruff and myself at the office to-day. A number of brethren were in to get counsel on various subjects.

I had a call from Colonel Duncan, the cashier of the Bank of the Republic in this city, who brought with him a Mr. Lucky, whom I had known in Washington.

27 March 1897 • Saturday

Saturday, March 27, 1897

President Woodruff and myself had a call this morning from Mr. & Mrs. John E. Searles, and his daughter, and private secretary, and Mrs. Chapman, and another young lady. Mr. Searles is the secretary of the Sugar Trust, and quite an important man. They came accompanied by Governor Wells and Spencer Clawson. After having some conversation, I accompanied them to the Tabernacle to hear an organ recital. Afterwards went with them through the Z.C.M.I. store, and to the Chamber of Commerce, from which place we went to their car.

I lunched with the Governor and Spencer Clawson at the Alta Club.

28 March 1897 • Sunday

Sunday, March 28, 1897

Attended meeting at the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock. Brother Don Carlos Young, who has been on a mission to the Southern States, was called upon to speak. He spoke for about three-quarters of an hour, and I followed him.

In the evening I attended ward meeting. We were visited by two home missionaries, Brothers James T. Flashman and [blank] Fulmer.

29 March 1897 • Monday

Monday, March 29, 1897

I heard that President Woodruff had been very sick yesterday, and I called upon him. I found him somewhat dropsical in his lower limbs and quite seriously indisposed. I have noticed that President Woodruff has not been so well of late, and I have felt concerned about him. I have been troubled in the night about him. I am glad that his grandson, Leslie Snow, who is quite a skilful physician and surgeon, is here to wait upon him. I administered to him in company with Brother John R. Winder.

I called with Colonel Clayton upon Mr. Bancroft, Vice President & General Manager of the Oregon Short Line, for the purpose of talking with him in relation to the traffic arrangement which had been referred to him in the contract that we had made with the Reorganization Committee. There were several points that he and Mr. Eccles (whom he called in to join in the interview) objected to in the contract; and after talking the matter over, I suggested that they submit in writing the changes that they proper [propose?] to make.

30 March 1897 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 30, 1897

Mr. Bannister came down from Ogden with some papers for me to sign, and I had quite a long conversation with him concerning the situation of affairs.

I had a call to-day from Elder S. W. Richards, who returned a few days ago from the Eastern States, where he has been laboring for upwards of two years as President of the Mission. He describes his mission as having been very encouraging and satisfactory. He comes home feeling well.

Brother Henry W. Naisbett also called. He has been absent upwards of five weeks in Idaho, laboring in conjunction with Elder J. G. Kimball in Blaine County. Brother Naisbett reports the condition of affairs there as very encouraging. They were hospitably entertained by the people, and an excellent spirit prevailed. A great many young men whose parents were Mormons, but who had been indifferent about the work, were becoming quite interested in the doctrines.

My brother David reached here to-day from St. George. He has brought with him his wife Josephine and one child. He has been quite sick since I saw him last, but he appears to be enjoying excellent health now and looks quite rugged. He has come up to attend conference.

I called at President Woodruff’s again, and administered to him. His condition is not very encouraging at the present time.

31 March 1897 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 31, 1897

I had an interview with Dr. Leslie W. Snow this morning, the subject being the condition of his grandfather, President Woodruff. He thinks his condition very serious, more because of his advanced age. His heart is affected seriously.

I had a call from Sister Van Schoonoven and one of her relatives concerning her father and mother and the steps necessary to be taken in regard to the ordinances. I suggested to her that where there was not a record of ordinances having been performed, unless it could be positively proved that they had been performed, it would be better and safer to have them administered again. This was in reference to ordinances said to have been performed in Nauvoo, and of which they had only oral testimony of persons who are now deceased.

A question was brought to our attention by my brother David to-day. A couple who had been sealed in Arizona by Brother John Henry Smith, under authority given him by President Woodruff to perform the ordinance of marriage for time and eternity to persons who lived in the south at a distance from the Temple, had come to the St. George Temple and had been told by my brother David that their children who had been born since their marriage would have to be sealed to them. They had written to Brother Smith, telling him of this decision, and he had spoken about it to David and told him that that decision was wrong. In explaining why he had done so, David and Brother Bleak wrote out what President Young had said upon this subject in answer to a question that had been addressed to him, and which was recorded in the book of instructions in the Temple, which instructions had been copied for our other temples. President Young had been asked this question: “Are children who have been born to parents who have been sealed, but not had endowments, born in the covenant or will they have to be sealed to their parents?” and he replied, “They will have to be sealed to their parents.” This was a little surprise to some of us, because we were not aware that such a ruling had been made; and some felt that if President Young had heard the different views about it he might have modified that ruling. Another point: it was felt that it was difficult to tell how a question might be answered unless one knew all the circumstances which prompted the question. According to this decision of President Young’s, the endowments are necessary to make the children heirs in the covenant, and that if the parents have not been endowed, though they have been sealed, the children would have to be adopted. Of course, if this is the law, there is no benefit in having the Apostles seal the people as they have been doing of late in some instances, because the chief object in having the sealing performed is to have the children born in the covenant. A case was mentioned while this matter was being conversed upon, where President Young had told a party that the children were born in the covenant who were born after the sealing ordinance had been performed, and where one of the parents did not have her endowments. It has appeared to us that it has been the sealing ordinance that constituted the covenant. It was the revelation of the authority to seal for time and eternity that has appeared to be the new and everlasting covenant. Marriages performed without this authority and without the sanction of him who holds the keys have been considered in one sense illegitimate – that is, they did not have the sanction of the Lord through His legal authority; and therefore children born under those circumstances have had to be sealed under the law of adoption to their parents, so as to legalize the birth and to have it sanctioned by the Almighty. When the sealing ordinance was revealed and the authority to administer it restored, marriages then became legal in the sight of God; and we had supposed, in looking at this matter, that this became the new and everlasting covenant, and children born after such marriages had been solemnized by proper authority were heirs of the covenant. I told my brother David that this was a question that would have to be submitted to the President.

President Snow and myself listened to statements made by Brothers M. W. Merrill and W. B. Preston concerning the Brigham Young College at Logan. The College is in a bad position financially, and the question arose whether it would not be better to close the College. We thought this would be bad policy, if it could possibly be avoided, and it was concluded that the two brethren, who were members of the Board, should have the Board examine the situation and find out how much they could reduce expenses by dispensing with some of the faculty and dropping some of the sciences taught there.

Mr. Babcock, who has been one of the principal men of the Rio Grande Western Railway here, called to pay his respects to President Woodruff and myself on his departure from the city. He has severed his relations with that railway, and is going east. He expressed himself as being greatly obliged for the kindnesses he had received in the city, and from us particularly.

Brother James Sharp called in company with Brother W. M. Stewart and showed me a letter which had been written to James Sharp as Chairman of the Board of Regents, in which the writers stated they had no confidence in the honor and truthfulness of James E. Talmage. This letter was signed by J. T. Kingsbury, W. M. Stewart, J. B. Toronto, G. M. Marshal, C. A. Whiting and D. R. Allen. I was much surprised and almost shocked at reading this. The brethren say that Dr. Talmage’s course is devious and they do not want him as President.

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March 1897, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 12, 2024