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Hyrum Ward Relief Society, Report, October 9, 1872

Hyrum Ward Relief Society, Report, Oct. 9, 1872, in “F. R. Society Reports,” Woman’s Exponent (Salt Lake City, UT), Nov. 1, 1872, vol. 1, no. 11, p. 82.

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


The Woman’s Exponent regularly published reports from local Relief Societies. The following document, an October 9, 1872, report submitted by Christina Liljenquist and her counselors in the Hyrum, Utah, Relief Society, provides an example of these reports and gives a brief glimpse into the activities and concerns of a rural Relief Society in northern Utah.

In 1856 Latter-day Saints began a concerted effort to establish settlements in Cache Valley in northern Utah and soon established a number of towns, including Logan in 1859 and Hyrum, in the south end of the valley, in 1860.1 In 1868 Mary Ann Maughan became president of the Relief Society in the Logan First Ward, and Relief Societies were organized in other wards in the valley. Apostle Ezra T. Benson, who also served as stake president of the Cache Valley Stake, instructed that the “Presidentess of the first ward was to preside over the whole, and that when ever she thought proper to call them all to gether it was her privilege.”2 Maughan thus coordinated and supervised the network of Relief Societies in the villages that dotted the valley.3 This relatively informal arrangement served as a precursor for the establishment of stake Relief Societies.4

On May 9, 1868, a Relief Society was first organized in the Hyrum Ward.5 Two years later, on April 7, 1870, the society was reorganized; Christina Jacobsen Liljenquist, a Swedish immigrant and the wife of ward bishop Ola Nilsson Liljenquist, became the new Relief Society president.6 A recent visit to Salt Lake City, partly funded by donations from Relief Society members, likely prompted Liljenquist’s 1872 letter.7


Hyrum, Cache County, Utah,

October 9th, 1872.

Editor Woman’s Exponent:

The Female Relief Society of this Ward was organized nearly four years ago, and since that time we have accomplished much good. Our Society is in a healthy condition; we have endeavored to do all in our power to comfort and bless the poor, the widow, the fatherless and the sick; thus assisting our Bishop and Teachers in some of their labors. In addition to this we have sent ninety dollars to assist in gathering the poor,8 and have given forty dollars to aid our Sunday School in purchasing a library and rewards. In connection with this Society there is a Young Ladies’ Retrenchment Association. We have a braiding school and make straw hats in Summer.9

Although the outside world may number us with the “poor, oppresse[d]10 women of Utah,” we experience great pleasure in saying, we have lived in the States and in the old world, but prefer living in, and enjoying the glorious liberties of Utah and her “Mormon” institutions, and in seeking to fill woman’s mission as wives, mothers and daughters, aiding suffering humanity wherever found.

The widow’s heart shall share our joy,

The orphan and oppressed

Shall see we love the sweet employ

To succor the distressed,11

And thus maintain woman’s legitimate rights.12

Christina Liljenquist, President,

Martha Ward, Counselors.

Lucy Wilson;

Footnotes

  1. [1]F. Ross Peterson, A History of Cache County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1997), 25–51.

  2. [2]Logan Utah Cache Stake, Logan Utah Cache Stake Relief Society Minutes and Records, 1868–1973, CHL, vol. 1, May 18 and 23, 1868.

  3. [3]See Carol Cornwall Madsen, “Creating Female Community: Relief Society in Cache Valley, Utah, 1868–1900,” Journal of Mormon History 21, no. 2 (Fall 1995): 126–154.

  4. [4]See Document 3.26.

  5. [5]Hyrum Ward, Hyrum Stake, Hyrum Ward Relief Society Minutes and Records, 1870–1901, CHL, vol. 1, May 9, 1868.

  6. [6]Hyrum Ward, Hyrum Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records, vol. 1, Apr. 7, 1870. For the years 1870–1871, there were approximately 263 members listed as attending Hyrum Relief Society meetings. (See “Attendance of the Hyrum Female Relief Society,” in Hyrum Ward, Hyrum Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records, vol. 1, pp. 2–16.)

  7. [7]Hyrum Ward, Hyrum Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records, vol. 1, Oct. 3 and Nov. 7, 1872.

  8. [8]Hyrum Relief Society members raised funds for the Perpetual Emigrating Fund throughout 1872. During a July meeting that year, Liljenquist congratulated the women on raising fifty-six dollars “to gather the poor.” She “spoke on the emigration, said the sisters had done well and they should recieve their reward she exhorted them to go ahead and do their duty.” (Hyrum Ward, Hyrum Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records, vol. 1, July 11, 1872.)

  9. [9]On the braiding school, see Hyrum Ward, Hyrum Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records, vol. 1, Aug. 1, 1872.

  10. [10]text: In the copy used for transcription, a portion of the line is obscured at this point.

  11. [11]Hymn 99, Sacred Hymns and Spiritual Songs. For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 14th ed. (Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon, 1871), 108–109.

  12. [12]Though Liljenquist, with her counselors, here distanced the Hyrum Relief Society members from national women’s rights reformers, she supported the extension of suffrage to Utah women. In July 1871 Liljenquist “advised every sister who had a vote to go to the Polls and record the same at the August Elections.” (Hyrum Ward, Hyrum Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records, vol. 1, July 5, 1871.)