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Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward Relief Society, Report, 1856–1858, as Published in “Relief Society in the Early Days,” July 1, 1895

Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward Relief Society, “Relief Society in the Early Days” (Report), Woman’s Exponent (Salt Lake City, UT), July 1, 1895, vol. 24, no. 3, p. 21.

See image of the original document at lib.byu.edu, courtesy of Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.


The Female Relief Society of the Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward functioned at two different times in the 1850s—in 1854 and possibly into 1855 and again between 1856 and 1858. This record of the second iteration, taken from an 1895 Woman’s Exponent article, covers the eighteen months between September 1856 and March 1858. The article reproduces names of members and officers, resolutions, and a summary of disbursements, but apparently the original documents have not survived. As is evident from the roster of names, several of the church’s leading families lived in the Fourteenth Ward, which was located in the center of Salt Lake City and included the blocks between South Temple Street and 300 South Street and between present-day 300 West Street and Main Street.

Eliza Partridge Lyman referred in her journal to the first iteration of the Fourteenth Ward Relief Society, established June 6, 1854, immediately following Brigham Young’s announcement that ward Relief Societies should be formed to assist with Indian relief. Lyman wrote: “The sisters in the fourteenth ward (of which I was a resident) met at the school house with their Bishop Abraham Hoagland, to be organised into a society for the purpose of carrying out more thoroughly the instructions of Presnt Young. Sister Lydia Partridge was appointed President and Phebe Pratt Secretary. Others were appointed to visit the sisters of the Ward and ascertain what they were willing to give toward clothing the poor Indians.” Lyman recorded making “a small gift to the society for the Lamanites,” some “5 yds of factory cloth, but I hope to be able to give more soon.” On June 17, when secretary Pratt resigned, Lyman became secretary and served in connection with her mother, President Lydia Clisbee Partridge.1 The group apparently disbanded during 1854 or 1855, after the immediate need for clothing Indian women and children had been met.

In September 1856 Bishop Hoagland reestablished the Female Relief Society in the Fourteenth Ward, this time with Phebe Carter Woodruff as president. Two counselors, a secretary, a treasurer, a visiting committee, other officers, and a total of 127 members made a substantial organization. Woodruff’s husband, Wilford, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, noted in his diary that he attended the women’s meeting on June 17, 1857: “In the afternoon I attended the 14 ward female relief society at my House with Robert Campbell we both addressed the meeting there were about 50 prese[n]t sewing knitting sewing carpet rags making quilts &c it is a laudable undertak[i]ng all the females in the ward meet at my house each wednesday afternoon they open & close with prayer Mrs Phebe W Woodruff is President & Mrs Pratt Secretary they clothe all the poor in the ward & during the last quarter they made a Donation to the perpetual Emigrating fund of $126. I wish all go & do like wise.”2


RELIEF SOCIETY IN THE EARLY DAYS.

The Fourteenth Ward Female Relief, Society, organized by Bishop Hoagland (agreeable to the request of President Brigham Young) on the seventeenth day of September 1856, with a President and two counselors, a secretary and treasurer; with power to elect other such officers as might be needed, for the carrying out and management of said society.3

We therefore deemed it necessary to elect a visiting committee of nine persons, one to each block to collect subscriptions and enquire into the circumstances and necessities of the poor and report the same to the President of the Society.4

We have also an Appraiser Committee of three persons. Together with a superintendence of work Committee of three persons, likewise.5

Our meetings are opened and closed by singing and prayer, and occasionally with remarks by Bishop Hoagland, and other brethren of the Priesthood, who may occasionally call in. Also by the President of the Society.

Members are received or expelled by vote according to our rules and By Laws.

P. [Phebe] W. Woodruff, Prest.

Phebe Woodruff, President; Mary I. Horne and Lucinda Southworth, Counselors; Kezia D. Pratt, Secretary; Agnes Hoagland Treasurer; afterwards P. W. Woodruff Treasurer.

Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward album quilt

Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward album quilt. The Fourteenth Ward Relief Society left a tangible record of its members in an album quilt produced in 1857, composed of dozens of colorful blocks created and signed by individual members. Album quilts were created to be keepsakes, and this quilt was divided into two pieces so that more than one family could maintain a connection to the legacy. (Courtesy Carol H. Nielson.)

Visiting Committee: Lavinia [Lovina] Taylor, Grace Richardson, Ellen [Douglas] Parker, Rhoda H. Richards, Elizabeth Pixton, Matilda Wardsworth [Wordsworth], N. [Nancy] A. Stevenson, L. Southworth, Agnes Hoagland.

Appraiser Committee: Phebe Woodruff, Mary I. Horne, Lucinda Southworth.

Superintendence of Work Committee: Lucy L. Van Cott, Sarah B. Foss, Agnes Hoagland.

names of members.

Phebe Woodruff, Mary I. Horne, Lucinda Southworth, Kezia D. Pratt, Agnes Hoagland, Leonora Taylor, Sarah M. Pratt, Emma Standish, Elizabeth Pixton, Sarah B. Phelps, N. A. Stevenson, Ann Longstroff [Longstroth], [Aura] Anetta A. Cummings, Lydia Sharp, Elizabeth K. Stevenson, Rhoda H. Richards, Fanny Spilsbury, Susan [Bayliss] Richards, Sophia Taylor, Esther Ann Hoagland, Jane Taylor, Mary Oakey [Okey], Matilda Wardsworth, Sarah Brown, Ann Jackson, Rachel Middleton, Elizabeth Pratt, Sarah B. Foss, Susan Cornelia Woodruff, Phebe Amelia Woodruff, Mary C. Stephen, Susan Pratt, Belinda Pratt, Elizabeth T. Blair, Sarah Church, Mary Ann Taylor, Agnes Taylor, Sarah Lishman [Leishman], Mary Ann Brown, Ann Clewly, Elizabeth [Knight] Johnson, Emily Shelton, Hannah C. Mumford, Lucy L. Van Cott, Mary Ann Taysom, Rebecca Hoagland, Hannah Bird, [Sarah Mariah] Texana Blair, Sarah Jane Blair, Sarah S. Turpin, Maria L. Twinball [Turnbow], Lovina Taylor, Elizabeth [Hillyard] Thompson, Jane C. Romney, Elizabeth M. [Gaskell] Romney, Mary Hall, Sophronia Turnball [Turnbow], Harriet [Utley] Carter, Margaret Hoagland, Isabel Lamoreaux, Annetta Rhodes, Mary Rhodes, Susanna [Liptrot] Richards, Sarah Ann Heyes [Hayes], Ann Agatha Pratt, Mary Campbell, Susan S. Richards, Charlotte F. Richards, Clarissa Snyder, Jesse S. Eddings [Jessie Ann Eddins], Hannah B. Morley, Mary Richards, Alice Watt, Mary S. [Augusta] Snow, Sarah [Brown] Woodruff, Emma Woodruff, Sarah Morris, Jane Watt, Elizabeth Foss, Olivia C. Foss, Deborah Ann Twinbull [Turnbow], Jane C. Richardson, Celestia L. Pratt, Sarah Richards, Nannie Richards, Caroline Simms [Sims], Mary C. Taylor, Elizabeth Rich, Jane Taylor, Helen [Ellen Benbow] Carter, Alice Thompson, Georgian A. Clements, Martha Robins [Robbins], S. [Sarah] G. Richards, S. S. Richards, Martha T. [Martha Ann Ball Johnson] Blair, Phebe Pratt, Martha T. [Jackson] Darger, Sarah Ivins, Sarah Ann Ballo, Jane E. Richards, Jane Jennings, Helen [Ellen] Winder, Helen Kay, Wilmirth East, Annie Latimer, Mary Perrin, Ellen C. Blair, Martha Price, L. [Lovina] Van Cott, Mary Ann Hooper, Catherine Mulliner, Adelaide Smith, Betsy Standish, Maria Riley, M. A. [Margaret Ann] Foster, M. [Matilda] Rhodes, [Hannah] Victoria Blair, Sarah Ann Remmington, Fanny Snalam, Rhoda Richards, Grace Richardson, Mary Jane Merrill, Kate Gardener, M. E. [Mary Ellen] France, Margaret Hill, Harriet Phelps, Mary W. Pratt.

by laws.

1.—The name of the society shall be called the Fourteenth Ward Female Relief Society.

2.—It shall be controlled by a president and two counselors, a secretary and treasurer, chosen by the members who shall choose such officers as may be deemed necessary.

3.—The object shall be the relief of the destitute—unemployed, and all whom it may have power to relieve or do good unto, in unison, with the councils of the Church, of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

4.—Those wishing to become members may be admitted on the recommend of any member. by a vote of any meeting regularly called.

5.—Members will be expelled from the society for unchristianlike conduct, by a majority of votes of any regularly organized meeting.

6.—These, by laws, may be increased, amended, annulled, or added to at any time considered necessary by a majority of the members.

first report.

Fourteenth Ward Female Relief Society, organized on the 17th day of September, 1856. Commenced and carried on our operations in a time of scarcity and under trying circumstances until, the 28th day of March, 1858, about one year and six months, during which time we received from members of the society in the form of contributions of money, wearing apparel, Provisions, etc,

amounting to………………………………………………………………………………...

$346.05

Quilts on hand and for Sale,…………………………………………………………………

100.00

Overplus for work and Propt………………………………………………………………...

101.12

547.17

By paid out to poor in the Ward,…………………………………………………………….

$213.77

By paid to our brethren of the army6………………………………………………………...

43.75

By donated to H. C. [handcart] Company,…………………………………………………..

63.65

By donated to P. E. [Perpetual Emigrating] Fund,…………………………………………..

126.00

By donated quilts to a Temple,……………………………………………………………...

100.00

547.17

Footnotes

  1. [1]Eliza Maria Partridge Lyman, Journal, 1846–1885, CHL, June 6, 9, and 17, 1854.

  2. [2]Wilford Woodruff, Journals, 1833–1898, Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898, CHL, June 17, 1857; for more on the Fourteenth Ward society, see “The Female Relief Society,” Deseret News, Jan. 28, 1857, 372; “The 14th Ward Female Relief Society,” Deseret News, May 20, 1857, 85; and “The 14th Ward Female Relief Society,” Deseret News, Aug. 8, 1857, 176.

  3. [3]Joseph Smith stated at the initial meeting of the Female Relief Society, “If any Officers are wanted to carry out the designs of the Institution, let them be appointed and set apart, as Deacons, Teachers &c. are among us.” (Document 1.2, entry for Mar. 17, 1842.)

  4. [4]The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo appointed women’s committees to visit those in need within each municipal ward. The committees also collected donations and supervised distribution of goods to the needy. The visitors later became known as teachers or visiting teachers. (Document 1.2, entry for July 28, 1843; Documents 2.5 and 3.9.)

  5. [5]Appraisers placed an approximate dollar value on “in kind” donations such as food and clothing. The work overseen by superintendents generally included sewing fabric scraps or rags into strips to be woven into carpet, making quilts, and sometimes carding and spinning wool or other animal hair. Similar names for officers were later adopted in the adjacent Salt Lake City Fifteenth Ward. (See Document 3.9.)

  6. [6]This refers to the Utah militia, known as the Nauvoo Legion at the time of the Utah War of 1857–1858.