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Salt Lake City Seventh Ward Relief Society, Minutes, January 4 and 28, 1868

Salt Lake City Seventh Ward Relief Society, Minutes, Jan. 4 and 28, 1868; Seventh Ward, Pioneer Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records, 1848–1922, vol. 1, 1848–1869, pp. 35–37, 42–43, CHL (LR 12586 14).

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By mid-January 1868, eleven Salt Lake City wards, including the Seventh Ward, had already heeded Brigham Young’s December 1867 counsel to organize Female Relief Societies.1 From 1854 until at least 1860, a Relief Society had functioned in the Seventh Ward with Elizabeth Campbell Vance serving as its president during most of that time. In fall 1861 Vance and her husband, John, were appointed by church leaders to settle in southern Utah; in parting she left the bishop a final tally of Relief Society donations and expenditures that shows a dearth of resources.2

At the first two meetings of the reorganized Seventh Ward Relief Society in January 1868, ward bishop Thomas McLelland, his two counselors, and other ward priesthood leaders addressed the women and proposed leaders and teachers to be sustained by vote of the women present. Elizabeth McLelland, wife of the bishop, was selected as president of the ward Relief Society, a pattern of husband-wife leadership followed in many wards. Subsequent meetings were under the direction of the women. In most wards priesthood leaders continued to address Relief Society meetings from time to time.

The Seventh Ward was a square of nine ten-acre blocks located between 300 South Street and 600 South Street and between present-day 300 West Street and Main Street. Several wealthy non-Mormon merchants resided within these boundaries, and Independence Hall, erected in this section in 1865, initially housed services for other religious groups, including Congregationalists, Catholics, and Episcopalians.3 Bishop McLelland told women who would be collecting donations for the poor that “Jew and gentile bond and free would all help if called upon.”

The following minutes of the Seventh Ward Relief Society’s January 4, 1868, reorganization meeting and of its January 28 meeting to appoint teachers were recorded by unidentified scribes in a ward Relief Society minute book first used in 1854, which is labeled Book A. Later, these and other minutes of meetings held in 1868 were copied with some revisions into a new Seventh Ward Relief Society record, Book B, by various scribes, including Eliza R. Snow.4 The following transcript comes from Book A; significant revisions made in Book B are described in footnotes.

January 4, 1868 • Saturday

Minutes of Meeting held in Seventh Ward School room5 Saturday 4th January 1868. For the purpose of organizing anew The Female Relief Society in Said Ward Meeting opened by Singing. Prayer by Charles W. Hyde. Present Bishop [Thomas] McLelland & Councellor’s [William] Thorne & [Moses] Thurston

Bishop McLelland said we had met according to appointment to organize The Female Relief Society. Sister Vance formerly was President of this Society when organized under Bishop Willy [James Willie] and acted as such until she moved South. Said this Society was designed by the Almighty to be of great benefit to the poor and finding out those in the ward who were really needy and destitute.6 He would have liked to have seen the house full of the good Sisters of the ward, Sisters full of faith and good works, so that when called upon they would be ready to act under this organization and by the direction of the Holy Spirit Had no fault to find with the labours of those who acted formerly. but wanted to reorganize so that the people might receive the benefits.

Bro Thorne said he was glad this Society was revived again. Many of the Sisters would think they had not much time to attend to this matter but it was necessary that the Sisters should have the privilege of developing the abilities God had given them and show to the people what they were competent to do. In visiting the people they must seek for the Spirit of the Lord that they may have wisdom to comfort and bless and cheer the Spirits of those that are downcast. Said that the hearts of the rich were made glad that they had the means to help the poor, the poor also were made glad by receiving the assistance they needed. Bro Thurston said he was a little disappointed in not seeing more of the Sisters present—thought the people would have been interested enough to attend this meeting and assist in [p. 35] in organizing this Society. it mattered not to him who was appointed President and Teachers but prayed that they would just be such as the Lord should select. Bro [Frederick] Andrew said he felt this Society would be a great Blessing to the people and would do what he could to sustain it. Brother Hyde said the Female Relief Society was capable of doing a great deal of good and would unite the people together. Said that the Lord had in store for the people Great Blessings if they would only do right The Lord had blessed him abundantly in revealing many things to him to comfort him in his affliction.

Bro [William] McLachlan said that in this country7 the sisters had a great deal to do and often thought that it kept them from gossiping and talking so much about one another and felt that this was all right. We did not know what we could accomplish until we were put to it and instead of labours decreasing they would continue to increase according to our faithfulness8 in keeping the commandments of the Lord. that they would be sustained by the Priesthood of God in performing their duty in this matter. Bro [James] Crowther said this Society was a good institution and felt like throwing in his mite to sustain the organization. Bro [James] Howell said he came here to learn something and was glad that this Society was about to be organized again. and that it was necessary we should be united in order that all the members of the Body be cared for that none may suffer[.] Bishop McLelland said the Sisters were rather backward9 he would like to hear some of them talk. Hee had looked over the Ward and could see many that would fill the Bill. But one at a time only was needed to preside and proposed Sister Elizabeth McLelland [p. 36] for President secconded by Bro Thorne and carried unanimiously by all present He proposed Margaret Harrington for First and Elizabeth Huffaker for Seccond Counseller’s secconded by Bro Thurston and carried unanimously and that Mary Allice Lambert be Clerk10 for said organization secconde & carried.11 Sister McLelland12 said she felt it was a great responsibility that was laid upon her but would try to do her best in accomplishing the work required of her that if we were united a great deal of good could be done. Several of the sisters expressed their willingness to do any thing that they might be required to do. Bishop McLelland Said they would proceed no further with the organizing at present, But at another meeting they would assist the President & Council in appointing assistants on the various Blocks. after a few remarks upon the principle of union meeting was dismissed Benediction By

Bro. Thorne

January 28, 1868 • Tuesday

Minutes of Meeting

Female Releif Society Tuesday evening Jan. 28th 1868/ 7th Ward School house opened by prayer by Charles Lambert13 present Bishop McLelland & councilor Thorn

Minutes of last meeting read and aproved

Bishop Said inasmuch as Sister〈s〉 Harrington Huffaker and Lambert were not present at our last meeting he would like them to express their feelings in relation to their appointments, they all expressed their willingness to act and do their best

Bishop said he was satisfied with what the Sisters had said and thought it would be also be necessary to appoint a Treasurer and would propose Sister Maria Thorne sconded, & carried un[animously] [p. 37]14

Bishop McLelland Councilor Thorne and Br Charles Lambert then proceeded to Ordain The President Council and Clerk

Sister Elizabeth McLelland for President

Sister Margaret Harrington first Councilor

Sister Elizabeth Huffaker for Second

and Sister Mary Alice Lambert for Clerk

The Bishop said the next buiseness was to appoint Teachers on the Various blocks, the following was Named




[Mary] Crowther & [Frances] Morgan15




[Eliza] Homer & [Elizabeth] Rose




[Eliza] Cram & [Catherine] Woodbury




[Martha] Twigg[s] & [Elizabeth] Cowley




[Jane] Rigby & [Margaret] Stewart17




[Fanny] Hunter & [Caroline] McLachlan




[Elizabeth] Andrew & Vanschoonhover [Mary Van Schoonhoven]




Whittaker [Elizabeth Whitaker] & [Eliza] Croxall




[Elizabeth] Cooper & [Elizabeth Henderson] Worley

all were unanimously sustained in their appointments. The Bishop said they would be assisted by the Spirit of the Lord in their labours and be a means of enriching the Ward and bless the poor and do a great ammount of good. he wished them to remember the School house and assist in adorning that when ready. Spoke of the great number of childeren that needed Education.18 The 7th Ward alone could run 3 good schools and wished their Mothers to train them aright that they might rightly apriaciate their labors Br Thorne said he could bear testimony to the truth of the remarks of the Bishop his instructions were good and calculated to bless. The Lord would never ask any of us to do what we are un able to performe the Sisters would realize to some extent the responsibility resting upon the Priesthoo[d] in the discharge of their duties wished the Sisters to be faithful in calling

Spoke of the great work that could be done if people were united. Our meeting house could be built the next season and prepaired for Meeting next fall. The Privelege of the Sisters were as good as those of the Bretheren

Br Lambert said he was pleased with the remarks of the bretheren and was confident that this Society would do A [p. 42] great deal of good in helping to build up the kingdom of God and releive the wants of the Poor

Bishop McLelland … Sisters cease to ask your Husbands for those things you do not realy need …19 told them to seek for wisdom and use all the Economy possible these things were impressed upon his mind and felt like laying them before the Sisters. Made A few remarks upon the good that could be done by this Society that Jew and gentile bond and free would all help if called upon

Br Thorn. There were A great many sick childeren arround and much Sickness wished the Sisters that had a knowledge how to treat the Sick to comunicate this to their sisters so as to remove it from our midst

Benedictation by Wm McLauchlan

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Salt Lake City Seventh Ward Relief Society, Minutes, January 4 and 28, 1868, The First Fifty Years of Relief Society, accessed June 20, 2024