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Nephi Ward Relief Society, Minutes, August–September 1870

Nephi Ward Relief Society, Minutes, Aug. 10–Sept. 1, 1870; five pages; Nephi Ward, Juab Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records, 1868–1878, vol. 1, 1868–1878, CHL (LR 6002 14).

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Latter-day Saints began settling Nephi (originally called Salt Creek) in Juab Valley in 1851; by 1870 the community had nearly thirteen hundred residents.1 Heeding President Brigham Young’s 1867 call to organize branches of the Relief Society throughout Mormon settlements,2 Nephi Ward bishop Charles H. Bryan held a meeting of women on June 23, 1868, to organize a society and select officers. Bryan appointed Amelia Hallam Goldsbrough as president, Elizabeth Silcox Kendall and Jane Phillips Picton as counselors, Frances Jane Hodson Andrews as treasurer, and Amy Lorette Chase Bigler as secretary. By the end of the first year, the Nephi Relief Society had 144 members, with 30 teachers on the visiting committee and 3 members of a board of appraisers.3

Featured below are minutes of three meetings recorded in the Nephi Relief Society Minute Book by secretary Amy Bigler. These selected minutes—for August 10, August 24, and September 1, 1870—suggest that the Nephi women, several of whom had recently visited Salt Lake City, perceived differences between their rural society and the Relief Society units of the more prosperous Salt Lake City wards. Nephi residents had limited access to the manufactured goods available in Salt Lake City. For instance, Salt Lake City offered bakeries and clothing patterns, a situation that partly prompted the calls by Brigham Young and other leaders for Latter-day Saints to retrench and focus more on home manufacture.4 The Nephi Saints probably had less need for such reminders. As rural Saints, the women of Nephi worked from scratch: they carded, spun, and knitted their own wool; made their own clothes, dresses, and blankets; tended vegetable gardens; and baked their own bread. The detailed donation list included with the minutes of the September 1 meeting gives a glimpse into the lifestyle and economy of the community.

August 10, 1870 • Wednesday

Fifty Sixth Meeting of the Female Relief Society Nephi Social Hall5 Aug 10, 1870, 1 Oclock PM

Met according to appointment

Called to order by Sister Elizabeth Kendall

Singing And are we yet alive6

Prayer by Sister Eliza Bigler

Singing Prayer is the souls sincere desire7

Roll called minutes read and accepted

By request Sister A L Bigler related (as far as she could recollect) a conversation had by herself Sister A Goldsbrough and Sister Bathsheba W Smith who is first councellor to the Presidentess of her ward in Salt L City8

Remarks by Mrs President said she always felt a diffidence in getting up before the sisters, but felt it a duty

said she was very happy in the society of Sister Smith and that Sister Bigler had given the most of her remarks, said we could see quite a difference in the difference manner of carrying on our meetings to the way they did in the city but presumed we entered into more branches of business than they did have more to do and more to look after, said some might ask what was done with the means that we handled Thought that such people should come and see what was done before they jumped at a conclusion9 Spoke at some length on the duties of the society and of living faithful before the Lord [p. [1]]10

Sister Frances J Andrews being requested gave a short account of a visit which she made to a meeting of the Female Relief Society in salt Lake City spoke of the manner which they carried on their meeting, spoke of having a chat with sister Eliza Snow

Sister Ann Ashdown and Maria Garret were then presented for membership and ac by unanimous vote Meeting then closed

Singing The day is past and gone11

Dismissed by Sister Ruth Hayward to meet again on the 24th of Aug at 1 Oclock PM

A L Bigler Sec

August 24, 1870 • Wednesday

Fifty Seventh Meeting of the Female Relief Society Nephi Social Hall Aug 24 [1870] 1 Oclock PM

Met according to appointment

Called to order by Mrs President

Singing Sweetly may the blessed spirit12

Prayer by sister Elizabeth Grace

Singing Once more we come before our God13

Roll called minutes read and accepted

The matter of collecting Donations before fast day was spoken of by Sister Goldsbrough and thought best to be attended to at that time according to previous arrangement14

Sister Mary Ockey [Okey] was then presented for membership and accepted by unanimous vote also Sister Agnes T Barrowman [Borrowman]

Fold work and close

Singing How will the saints rejoice to tell15

Dismissed by sister Jane Foot [Nancy Jane Foote] to meet again on the 7th of Sept at 1 Oclock PM16

A L Bigler Sec [p. [2]]

September 1, 1870 • Thursday

Fifty Eighth Meeting of the Female Relief Society Nephi Social Hall Sept 1st [1870] 2 Oclock PM

according to previous arrangements the Board and teachers met to attend to whatever business might be on hand, to call in the Donation bills17 and have a testimony meeting Called to order by Mrs President A Goldsbrough

Singing Great God attend while Zion sings18

Prayer by sister A Goldsbrough

Singing We thank thee O Lord for a prophet19

List of donations in Nephi minutes

List of donations in Nephi minutes. This September 1, 1870, entry in the Nephi, Utah, Relief Society Minute Book lists member donations and gives a glimpse into the lifestyle and economy of the community. The handwriting here is that of Amy L. Bigler, secretary of the Nephi Relief Society at this time. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)

Donation bills called in as follows


Maria [Mary] Harley by sack making


Harriet Carter by spining 3 skeins of yarn



Mary Brough 1 skein of yarn


Elsie [Mary Elsa] Price 10 lbs of flour


Jerusha Bosnell [Gerusha Boswell] soap


Hannah Foot[e] 10 lbs of flour


Elizabeth Hague 11 lbs of flour


Sarah Cazier rolls20


Frances J. Andrews 4 doz of apples


Harriet Broadhead by spining and washing 3 skeins yarn


Maria Love 10 lbs of flour


Sarah Tranter ½ doz eggs


Esther Ockey 3 eggs


Rebecca Wilson 8 lbs of flour


Ann Andrews rolls


Sarah Baily 1 qt of mulasses


Eve Riches 1 spool of cotton


Alice Atkinson 1 doz of eggs


Elizabeth Lunt 1 skein of yarn


Susanna Goble 1 doz eggs


Emma Beal wool


Sarah Berchall [Birchall] 1 skein of yarn


Elizabeth Miller 1 skein of yarn


Mary Midgley 7 ½ lbs of flour


Hannah Jenkins 2 ½ lbs of flour


Elizabeth [Ashford] Clark 1 doz of apples


[p. [3]]




Anna Wilkey 1 spool of cotton


Sarah Ann [Hannah] Andrews 2 skeins of linen thread


Charlotte Rollins 1 lb of Butter


Mary Ann Ostler 9 lbs of flour


Harriet Lunt by knitting


Sarah Tolley 2nd 1 spool of cotton



Emma Goldsbrough patches



A Goldsbrough sundries


Ellen Goldsbrough carpet rags


Susan Sidwell 1 spool of cotton


Miranda Bryan 2 doz of apples


Elizabeth Grace 7 lbs of flour


Madalene [Mary Madeline] Pyper 1 skein of yarn


Sarah McCune 1 skein of yarn


Elizabeth Godfrey 〈3 lb〉 corn meal


Nancy Ann Bigler 1 doz apples


A L Bigler by Indigo21 and labor


Elizabeth Howles 1 skein of yarn


After the bills were disposed of Sister Goldsbrough said the meeting was now open for all to speak that felt to do so

Sister Jane Picton said she felt thankful for a standing in this church and that she was associated with this society Felt that there were many trials to pass through but said the Lord would assist us if we would call upon him Realized he had strengthened her many times and blessed her abundantly hoped that all might prove faithful and gain a place in the Kingdom of heaven

Sisters [Elizabeth] Sowby[,] Hayward[,] Bigler[,] Jones[,] Kendall[,] Wilkey[,] Heinkie [Kienke][,] Broadhead[,] Bryan[,] Wright all bore a faithful testimony to the truth of the latter day work gave a good reports of their wards Felt to rejoice with their sisters in having the privalege of being associated with the Female Relief Society spoke words of comfort and encouragement to all present [p. [4]] exhorted to faithfulness and obedience to those that are placed to guide the affairs of Gods Kingdom here on earth

Sister A Goldsbrough said this meeting was intended for our mutual benefit hoped all would avail themselves of the opportunity offered them of expressing their feelings and speaking of the blessings of God

said she felt thankful for the organization of this society encouraged the sisters to faithfulness said each one must be saved for themselves22 spoke on predestination and agency felt that she would never give up mormonism whatever she might be called to pass through gave many words of encouragement to the teachers

It being time to close the Choir sung Farewell all earthly honors23

Dismissed by sister A L Bigler Sec


  1. [1]“History,” Andrew Jenson, comp., in Nephi Ward, Juab Stake, Nephi Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1847–1900, CHL; Francis A. Walker, comp., Ninth Census–Volume I. The Statistics of the Population of the United States. … Compiled, from the Original Returns of the Ninth Census, (June 1, 1870,) under the Direction of the Secretary of the Interior (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1872), 275.

  2. [2]See Document 3.1.

  3. [3]Nephi Ward, Juab Stake, Nephi Ward Relief Society Minutes and Records, 1868–1878, CHL, June 26, 1869.

  4. [4]See Document 3.15. In 1869 Salt Lake City’s business listings included five flour mills, five ice cream sellers, six milliners, eight bakeries, eight confectioners, eight hairdressers, nine specialists for gloves and mittens, eleven suppliers of produce and grain, thirteen sources for “fancy goods,” seventeen tailors and drapers, seventeen clothing stores, twenty-one dry goods providers, and thirty-two general merchandise stores. (E. L. Sloan, comp., The Salt Lake City Directory and Business Guide, for 1869 [Salt Lake City: By the author, 1869], 153–171.)

  5. [5]In this period the Nephi Relief Society generally met either in the town’s log schoolhouse or in the social hall mentioned here. The Relief Society began construction on a hall, which would be an adobe building located on Main Street, in 1871; the hall was first used on June 24, 1876, at the 208th meeting of the Nephi Relief Society. The building was dedicated November 30, 1881. (Nephi Ward, Juab Stake, Relief Society, Minutes, June 24, 1876; “Relief Society,” Andrew Jenson, comp., in Nephi Ward, Juab Stake, Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1847–1900, CHL.)

  6. [6]Hymn 81, A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, ed. Emma Smith (Nauvoo, IL: E. Robinson, 1841), 90.

  7. [7]G. Careless, “Prayer,” Utah Musical Times 1 (Sept. 1876): 104; see also Karen Lynn Davidson, Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and the Messages (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 170–171.

  8. [8]Amy Bigler and Amelia Goldsbrough had visited with Bathsheba W. Smith in Salt Lake City. Bigler’s husband, Jacob G. Bigler, was Smith’s brother. Smith, wife of apostle George A. Smith, served as a counselor to Rachel Ivins Grant in the Thirteenth Ward Relief Society. (Thirteenth Ward, Ensign Stake, Thirteenth Ward Relief Society Minutes and Records, 1849–1908, vol. 1, CHL, Nov. 5, 1868.)

  9. [9]The next year, when charitable donations were low, counselor Elizabeth Kendall remarked that “she understood that some did not feel like giving any more because they did not know what was done with the means If they would attend meeting they would know But supposed we should always have busy bodies among us.” (Nephi Ward, Juab Stake, Relief Society, Minutes, Nov. 30, 1871.)

  10. [10]text: The original minute book is not paginated at this point, so pagination supplied here will be for the selected entries presented here, rather than for the minute book.

  11. [11]Hymn 204, Collection of Sacred Hymns, 223.

  12. [12]Hymn 48, Sacred Hymns and Spiritual Songs. For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 13th ed. (Liverpool: Albert Carrington; London: L. D. Saints’ Book Depot, 1869), 60.

  13. [13]Hymn 91, A Collection of Sacred Hymns, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Europe, selected by Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor (Manchester: W. R. Thomas, 1840), 105.

  14. [14]Following Joseph Smith’s pattern of holding a fast day in Kirtland, Ohio, Brigham Young designated the first Thursday of each month as fast day in Utah. During their visiting routes in Nephi, the Relief Society teachers collected fast offerings along with regular donations for the poor. (See Document 3.1.)

  15. [15]Hymn 115, Collection of Sacred Hymns [1841], 123.

  16. [16]Before the planned September 7 meeting of the society was held, a meeting of the board and teachers was held on September 1, 1870.

  17. [17]At Relief Society meetings, the teachers turned in “donation bills” indicating what each woman had donated. Since in-kind tithes were stored in the Nephi tithing office, it is likely that the Nephi Relief Society members also stored fast offerings and other donations there, at least until they had their own hall. As cash was scarce, the tithing office functioned as a kind of local bank. (For example, see “Mail Coach,” Deseret News, May 14, 1853, [4].)

  18. [18]Hymn 88, Collection of Sacred Hymns [1841], 97.

  19. [19]Hymn 152, Sacred Hymns and Spiritual Songs. For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 12th ed. (Liverpool: George W. Cannon; London: L. D. Saints’ Book Depot, 1863), 166.

  20. [20]The “rolls” listed among these donations were likely small quantities of carded wool brought from a carding mill ready for spinning. (“Roll,” in The Oxford English Dictionary, ed. James A. H. Murray et al., 12 vols., 1933, reprint [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970], 8:756.)

  21. [21]Indigo bush (Psorothamnus fremontii or Dalea fremontii) grows natively throughout Utah as a perennial shrub with vivid blue and purple flowers. Indigo bush could be used to make a colored dye and also had a practical medicinal use: the roots could be boiled into a tea to treat gastrointestinal problems or internal hemorrhaging. (Daniel E. Moerman, Native American Medicinal Plants: An Ethnobotanical Dictionary [Portland: Timber Press, 2009], 395–396; Raymond M. Turner et al., Sonoran Desert Plants: An Ecological Atlas [Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2005], 335; P. A. Rydberg, Flora of the Rocky Mountains and Adjacent Plains [New York: By the author, 1917], 482–483.)

  22. [22]Joseph Smith told the women of the Nauvoo Relief Society, “After this instruction, you will be responsible for your own sins. It is an honor to save yourselves— all are responsible to save themselves.” (Document 1.2, entry for Apr. 28, 1842.)

  23. [23]Hymn 291, Collection of Sacred Hymns [1841], 321.