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4.23

Zina D. H. Young, Letter to Eliza Stewart Udall, March 19, 1889, and Eliza Stewart Udall Reply, March 31, 1889

Zina D. H. Young, Letter to Eliza Luella Stewart Udall, Mar. 19, 1889; one page; and Eliza Luella Stewart Udall, Letter to Zina D. H. Young, Mar. 31, 1889; incomplete (unsigned); one page; Relief Society Historical Files, 1888–1984, CHL (CR 11 301).

See image of the original document at dcms.lds.org.


Eliza Luella Stewart Udall arrived in St. Johns, Arizona, in October 1880 with her husband, David King Udall, who had been appointed as the first bishop of the newly organized St. Johns Ward, and their first child, a three-month-old daughter.1 At the time of their arrival, church meetings were held “in a bowery (a room built of greasewood and covered with grease wood brush).”2 Eliza Udall was soon appointed as secretary to fill a vacancy in the ward Relief Society.3

Some of the Mormon residents in St. Johns, including Bishop Udall, became embroiled in heated land disputes with original settlers. In 1885 Udall was convicted of perjury in relation to a land claim and sentenced to prison.4 Eliza Udall encouraged her husband to “be cheerful as possible for I believe you will soon be permitted to return home. If our lives can all be spared to meet again, lets not complain.”5 A month later Eliza Udall wrote to her husband that their baby, Mary, was “quite sick, and has had a very rough time of it. She is reduced as much as a child could be in flesh.”6 Mary died a few days later. David wrote to Eliza: “For you to have to bury one of the sweet little ones, without my presence and support how great the trial you must of indured.”7 In December 1885 David was released from prison.8

A year and a half later, David Udall was appointed to serve as president of the recently organized St. Johns Stake, and his wife was set apart as president of the St. Johns Stake Relief Society, a capacity in which she served for over thirty years.9 In March 1889 Eliza Udall received the invitation reproduced below from general Relief Society president Zina D. H. Young to attend a Relief Society conference to be held in conjunction with the church’s general conference in Salt Lake City. A similar notice was printed in the Woman’s Exponent: “It is hoped and expected there will be representative women from all the Stakes of Zion present, and no doubt much needed instruction will be given.”10 Udall declined the invitation but in her reply, also featured below, she gave a brief report of the Relief Society work in St. Johns.11 The first-ever general Relief Society conference convened at the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on April 6, 1889, and included women representing nineteen stakes.12


Letter to Eliza Stewart Udall, March 19, 1889

Salt Lake City, Utah

March 19. 1889

Mrs. E. S. L. Uedall

President Relief Society St. John’s Stake

Dear Sister:

There will be a General Conference of the Relief Society held in this city sometime during the Annual Conference of the Church in April next. An invitation is hereby most cordially extended to you to be present on that occasion to represent the Relief Society in the Stake over which you have been appointed to preside. If it is not convenient for you to attend, one of your Counselors should be authorized to report in your stead

We are greatly in hopes that each Stake organization of the Relief Society will be represented by the President or one of her Counselors.

All officers and members of the Relief Society are also invited to attend the meeting.

Affectionately Your Sisters in the Gospel

Zina D. H. Young

Pesident

Emmeline B. Wells Cor. Sec’y

Central Board Relief Society

Eliza Stewart Udall Reply, March 31, 1889

13Springerville, Apache Co

Arizona March 31st 1889

Prest Zina D. H. Young,

Dear Sister,

Your cordial invitation of 19th 〈to attend the Gen. Con of R. S.〉 inst received and am sorry to inform you that it is not practicable for myself or Counsellors to attend owing to the high R. R. [railroad] fare rates & scarcity of Cash in this frontier Country. Our Societies in the St Johns Stake of Zion are in a prosperous condition. Our means is somewhat limited but still I believe we collect sufficiently to provide 〈for the those who come under our supervision〉— We feel greatly The sisters are as a rule faithful in attending meetings and are energetic in looking after the poor— We feel like we are 〈it is a great〉 deprived privation to live so far from head quarters and not have their kindly & 〈encourging〉 visits of our leading sisters & we trust that in the near future we can have the privilege of beholding your dear We will greatly appreciate a visit when 〈if〉 the time comes that we can be thus favored. Our sisters 〈living〉 in 〈coming to〉 this land have many sacrifices to make & it gives me pleasure to state that they nobly do their part in helping to make homes & redeem this barren Country

Letter from Eliza Stewart Udall to Zina D. H. Young

Letter from Eliza Stewart Udall to Zina D. H. Young. Because of the prohibitive cost of travel, St. Johns, Arizona, resident and stake Relief Society president Eliza Udall had to decline the invitation to attend the first Relief Society general conference in Salt Lake City. This document appears to be a draft of that letter that she retained, as it is unsigned and has several revisions. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)

Footnotes

  1. [1]David King Udall and Pearl Udall Nelson, Arizona Pioneer Mormon: David King Udall, His Story and His Family, 1851–1938 (Tucson: Arizona Silhouettes, 1959), 66–67; Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936), 1:325.

  2. [2]“St. Johns Ward, 1880,” in Saint Johns Ward, Saint Johns Stake, Saint Johns Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1880–1982, CHL.

  3. [3]“Historical Sketch of the Relief Society of St. Johns Stake,” in Saint Johns Arizona Stake, Saint Johns Arizona Stake Relief Society Minutes and Records, 1887–1973, CHL, 1.

  4. [4]C. LeRoy Wilhelm and Mabel R. Wilhelm, A History of the St. Johns Arizona Stake: The Triumph of Man and His Religion over the Perils of a Raw Frontier (Orem, UT: Historical Publications, 1982), 29–36, 49–51; “St. Johns Ward, 1885,” in Saint Johns Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports.

  5. [5]Eliza L. S. Udall to David K. Udall, Aug. 28, 1885, Udall Family Correspondence Collection, 1859–1950, CHL.

  6. [6]Eliza L. S. Udall to David K. Udall, Sept. 23, 1885, Udall Family Correspondence Collection, CHL.

  7. [7]David K. Udall to Eliza L. S. Udall, Oct. 5, 1885, Udall Family Correspondence Collection, CHL.

  8. [8]David K. Udall to Eliza L. S. Udall, Dec. 20, 1885, Udall Family Correspondence Collection, CHL.

  9. [9]Wilhelm and Wilhelm, History of the St. Johns Arizona Stake, 351.

  10. [10]“Editorial Notes,” Woman’s Exponent, Apr. 1, 1889, 17:164.

  11. [11]Udall’s husband, the stake president, did attend the conference. (David K. Udall to Eliza L. S. Udall, Apr. 11, 1889, Udall Family Correspondence Collection, CHL.)

  12. [12]“First General Conference of the Relief Society,” Woman’s Exponent, Apr. 15, 1889, 17:172–173; see also Document 4.24.

  13. [13]The version of Udall’s reply transcribed here was probably a draft copy that she retained, as it is unsigned and has several revisions. No other version has been located.