Jane Wilkie Hooper arrived in Kaysville, Utah, as a ten-year-old with her parents in 1855. Young Jane made close friendships in Kaysville that she “hated to leave” when the family relocated to Ogden, about fifteen miles north, in the late 1850s. But her absence was only temporary. After marrying William Blood, she returned to Kaysville, where she became a central figure in the Relief Society for many decades. She noted that on May 14, 1868, “the Female Relief Society was organized in Kaysville. . . . Mary Woolley and I were [visiting] teachers. I worked in the Relief Society as secretary and later as a counselor until 1898.”1 During the era covered by the diary excerpts below, Blood also served as ward Relief Society treasurer. In addition, when Eliza R. Snow organized a Primary Association in Kaysville on September 18, 1879, Blood became Primary president at the bishop’s suggestion.2 These excerpts from her diary give insight into the functioning of the Relief Society and the Primary Association on a local level and the role they played in Blood’s life.3
The Kaysville Relief Society was organized in the midst of efforts by church leaders to establish the silk industry in Utah, and Blood and other women embraced the enterprise. In the 1850s and 1860s, Brigham Young repeatedly encouraged Latter-day Saints to participate in silk production,4 but many Saints remained apathetic. Major progress came in the late 1860s after Young appointed George D. Watt, his shorthand reporter, “to travel throughout the Territory and lecture on Silk culture, and also to organize societies for the cultivation of silk.”5 In 1875 church members organized the Deseret Silk Association with a mix of male and female leadership. Zina D. H. Young was president of the new silk association with Mary Isabella Horne as second vice president; Alexander C. Pyper was superintendent with Anson Call as first vice president. A committee consisting of Eliza R. Snow, Horne, and Elvira Stevens Barney worked to obtain means to procure machinery and other necessities. Zina Young, who believed the silk association would be critical in helping the Saints becoming self-sustaining, visited settlements throughout the territory to encourage silk raising among Relief Society women and other church leaders.6
During the April 1877 general conference of the church, an official call to all Latter-day Saint women asked them to actively participate in silk production. Attendees unanimously voted that Relief Societies throughout the church would raise silk as part of their mission and thereby work to clothe themselves and their families.7 At the same time, membership in the Deseret Silk Association rapidly spread to local Relief Societies. A branch of the association was organized in Davis County, where Jane Blood lived, at a Relief Society meeting in April 1879.8 Blood’s daughter noted, “Mother had an insatiable craving for knowledge, and real creative ability. . . . She was never satisfied after seeing a new kind of handwork until she had learned how to do it. This desire prompted her to go into the silk industry.”9
Tue 25 We Ironed I attended F R<elief>. S<ociety>. Meeting Sisters [Sarah] Holmes & Clarke [Mary Stevenson Clark] from Farmington Spoke tous [to us]12 I rode with Sister [Mary Ann] Walker down to Annie [Blood Phillips’s] when I got thair Annie had gone up to our house but Wm [William Blood] brought Her down . . .
Mon 31 William went to town we washed[.] the <baby> was not well Annie went home I bought 2.00 worth of Silkworms Eggs . . .
Tues 8 We irond in the morning I attended F R S Meeting in the afternoon13 went to Elizbeth Bennett in the evening she was sick . . .
Thur 10 Made some wax Flowers
Fri 11 ˝ ˝ ˝ went to Choir practice . . .
Satur 12 I was busey home in the morning went to Meeting in the afternoon Sisters holmes and Clark came both Primary ◊sociations [Associations] held Meeting in the Meeting house14 Annie cam[e] [p. 10] . . .
Tue 15 got 50ct Silkworms Egg for I did not think we should have enough . . .
Fri 25 George [Blood] is some better, cleaning out the silkworms . . . [p. 11] . . .
Thu 8 Working with the silk wormes . . .
Monday 12 We washed[.] Alfred Manning and wife [Rose Manning] came and Harry [Henry Manning], Maggie [Margaret Manning] and Jane Manning, Annie [Anna] Parker, Frank Gwilliams, thay were going to Rodes valley15 on a visit. William was not well. . . .
Wd 14 I cut out some shirts for William and the boys. I went up to W[illiam] Smith for mulbery leaves.16
Thur 15 We picked the red currants Mary Ann [Alice Cannon] Lambert came on a visit I went to Haights Creek for aride with John [Blood] he went for oak brush for the wormes to spin on . . .
Thurs 22 Ironed Annie [Parker] & Thomas [Phillips] went home, I went to Smiths for leaves I have been every night for a week but most of the <first> silkworms are spinning . . . [p. 12] . . .
Mon 26 I was working with the silk worms . . .
Saturd 31 picked of some of the cocoons attented Primary Meeting17 . . .
Tue 10 we irond Annie came we went to the young Lady’s Meeting Sisters Holmes and both Sisters Clarke18 was to the meeting thay called on me to Speek. . . . [p. 13] . . .
Thur 19 I comenced to teach Mrs [Mary Ann] Lewis and Elizbeth Blaymires [Wadworth] to make wax flowers . . .
Wed 25 We finished the boquets of wax flowers and thay took them home. I charged four dollars each for teaching and sold them a glass Shade each for [blank] . . . [p. 14] . . .
Sat 18 I was working at home in the morning went to meeting in the after noon it is the conferance for the primarys Sisters [Aurelia Spencer] Rogers, [Helena] Hess and Lucy Clark came up we had a good meeting thay cam[e] over to supper Annie came . . . [p. 15] . . .
Tue 26 I made the boys over halls [overalls] in the morning went to the sisters Meeting in the afternoon . . .
Tue 2 They finished thrashing I had a sewing bee William and I went to vote for the delagate to congress19 . . . [p. 17] . . .
Sat 4 it is Conferance of this stake the meeting is here Joseph F Smith and John Henry Smith attended . . .
Sun 5 . . . J F [Smith] also spoke to the sisters told them how to live so that thair <children> would grow up to <be> mighty men and wemen told us to teach them the principles of the gosple and to do right from the day thay are born told the men to be good to thair wives and wives to thair husbands and treat all thair famleys good and kind20 . . .
Mon 6 I bought two Sheep for five dollars. it was money I received for teaching wax flowers. . . . [p. 19] . . .
Tue 4 Sewing in the morning I went up to Sister [Mary Ann] Hyde in the afternoon her daughter was sick and she came down for me . . . [p. 21]
Thurs 6 I have been bussy sewing all day this is Maggie [Margaret Ann] Manning weding day. it is the first child Margret [Margaret Galbraith Manning] has had married
Fri 7 I have been bussy working and cooking I made a weding cake for Magie . . .
Fri 21 I have been making burial cloths for little Ray [Renaldo] Mowrey he died with the membraim Croop21 he had his throte cut and a silver tube put in for him to breath[e] through he suferd dredfull. . . . [p. 22]
Tue 25 sewing on my dress Sister [Louisa] Egbert came to see about me working up my silk
Wed 26 We washed in the morning I went to Egberts in the afternoon
Thur 27 I have been up to Egberts and begun to real my silk
Fri 28 I have been realing silk Annie and
me I went to choir practice
Sat 29 We have dismised the meeting for a wile it is such bad wether for the children to come out I have been realing silk . . .
Monday 31. I have been working in the silk we have realed eight skains today I have got got aletter from Margret to tell me Joseph [Manning] is maried . . .
Tue 1 It is Johns [John Blood’s] birthday he is fourteen I have been realing silk all day Joseph Manning wife [Josephine Manning] had a son to day
Wed 2 Working withe the silk I got done realing today.
Thu 3 Twisting silk went to a weding at Egberts, Thomas Wriack [Warrick] was maried
Fri 4 ˝ ˝ [Twisting silk]
Sat 5 ˝ ˝ . . .
Tue 8 Twisting silk . . .
Wed 9 ˝ ˝ ˝
Thur 10 ˝ ˝ ˝
Fri 11 I had to real a little more silk I had eniugh to make it twelve yard of my own raising but I wanted another yd for trimings I bought it from Sister Egbert I paid two dollars for it . . .
Sat 12 I took my silk to farmington to be wove with Sisters Egberts . . . <Joseph Hadfield and wife [Janet Hadfield] weavers.>22 . . . [p. 23] . . .
Tue 15 I have been sewing on a quilt for sister Egbert to pay her for teaching me to real silk . . .
Wed 16 I am still sewing at the quilt
Thu 17 John took Sister Egburt and me to Farmington to see about our silk. <Joseph Hadfield & wife did the weaving>23
Fri 18 I finished the quilt and took it home. . . .
Tue 22 I have been fixing up my F R. S. Books24 to day & think of going to the City
to morow. . . .
Tue 29 I began to make my home made silk dress I am very pleased with it because it is my own production
Wed 30 Annie is helping me to make my dress.
thu 31 Sewing Still. . . . [p. 25] . . .
Mon 4 I have been Working in the garden planting out cutting of balm of gilierd [Gilead] for shade trees25 . . . [p. 26] . . .
Friday 22. It is the F R S Conferance here to day and the Pri[m]ary in the afternoon we have had very good meetings here Sisters Emeline Wells & Ellen B. Ferguson came up from the City [Salt Lake City].26
Sat 23 We had a splended meeting the Children cam out well.
Sun 24 We went to sunday school there is more <children> coming now than thare has been for some time the parents as a general rule seem to get careless at times about send ing thair children. thay do not know the harm thay are doing by neglicting this duty . . . [p. 27] . . .
Tue <Mon> 2 It is my birthday we went up in the canyon. Mrs [Eliza] Hooper cam down to see us. my weight is <about 110 lbs> my height is <5 ft 3/8 in> without my shoes27 Wed <Tue> 3 I have been to Brothers [Edward] Philips Annie [Hannah] Layton baby [Hannah Isabel Layton] is dead and I have been making the cloths and dressing it
Wed 4 I went to the furnial when I came home William was quite sick. my silk wormes are all hatched. . . .
Wed 18 I ironed in the morning & made a cross and started to make the flowers Annie came to help me.
Thu 19 I finished my reath of white flowers, I put on the cross “To the memory of my Mother28 who died febury 20. 1875. born Febury 18. 1813.[”] it looks very nice & I thought it would be good for the children to read and I know if Mother was here she would like it. . . . [p. 28] . . .
Tue 24 We washe and Ironed Maggie Powell [Margaret Annie Powell Cole] helped I went to the woman working meeting in the afternoon. . . . [p. 29] . . .
Tue 14 I went to Wm Smiths for leaves & I got some good peach buds I buded some trees, in the afternoon Kate [Henrietta Powell Brown] Annie & I went to meeting Sister Holmes & both Sisters Clarck we had as good a meeting as ever I was at.
Wed 15 we irond & got feed for the wormes. . . .
Fri 17 Kate is took sick with the scarlet feaver I have been coo◊◊◊ing [cooking?] for the men. my wormes started to spin. . . . [p. 30]
Wed 29 we ironed I went with Egberts folks to get osage orange leaves for the silk worms.
Thu 30 we picked of the cocoons Sister [Catherine] Payne, Unice [Mary Eunice] Robins & Annie, came to help us. . . . [p. 31] . . .
Wed 7 this morning I went to Brother [Joseph] Egberts to get him to fetch a bit of lumber for a graniary for relief Socity. & the rest of the day working with the peaches. . . .
Sat 10 thair is no Meeting for the Primary to day one of President [Christopher] Layton daughters was burrid I went to the Funial [p. 37] it is Jane Layton she is thirteen years old Bro Alexander Graham died yesterday I have got to make his burial cloths it will take me nearly all night . . . [p. 38] . . .
Sat 15 I went to the Primary Meeting this afternoon Jane Manning came on a visit & brought Lawrence [Manning] with her . . .
Tue 18. We washed I went to meeting I was appointed first counciler to Sister Layton32 . . .
Fri 21 I attended three meetings & choir practice Sisters E R S [Eliza R. Snow] Smith & Ziny D Young came up to the F. R S meeting we had very good teachings thay told us of our dutys, told the people never to send thare children to outside schooles for it would take them out of the church33 told the young mothers to try and teach thair young children to love the truth & to keep the commadments of god the Prymary conferance was held in the afternoon sister Eliza asked the children <a> great many good questions & showed them Joseph Smiths watch34 Ziny D Young spoke well to the little folks I went down to Bp [Peter] Bartons after the third meeting I enjoyed my self well Sisters Eliza & Ziny was thare & sister Layton. [p. 54] . . .
Tue 1 <Wed 2> We Ironed I went With S[arah] B Layton & Ellen Barton to wash & anoint Clara Barton [Burton] she is very sick . . . [p. 55] . . .
Fri 20 . . . I took some of the Primary children to Farmington to the F R S & the P A conferance we had <a> good time I could not take the baby she is not well & she has very sore eyes . . . [p. 68] . . .
Tue 22 We washed & I went to meeting Sisters Nancy Clark & Mary Richards were up we had a good Meeting several spoke in toungs the interpretat[ion]38 was splended it told us to prepare to teach the Indians for the time was near when the sisters as well as the Breathers [Brothers] would have to go among them, told us to be faithfull or it would be a great trial to us I wish I could remember all thay said for it was good39 . . . [p. 69] . . .
Sat 9 The children & I went to Meeting I wish my council would attend more regular for it is quite a task to attend alone, but I feel to try & do the best I can for I can see the children need to be taught in the principles of this church, I wish many times I could do more if I had no other dutys I would spend all my time with the young but I have my familey to take care of <I went to practic> . . .
Tue 19. We washed & I went to Meeting I was apointed assistant secretery I have had to take most of the minutes for years . . . [p. 70] . . .
Fri 20 We have <had> the harvest men for several days we have been buisey, to day the conferance of the relief society is held here I went in the afternoon I never was at such a meeting,40 Sisters Eliza R Snow & Zina Young came up from the City thay both spoke well thay spok on celestial Marage told us not to speak against it for it is of god & if we speak evil & try to make mischeif in it we will have to answere for it thay both spoke of the good thay thought would arise from the Prymary Meetings told the mothers to send thair children to the meetings Sister E R Snow felt well felt to bless the people here more than she had language to expres she said sisters if you will lift your hearts to god I will bless you in toungues she then blessed us in toungs & Sister Ziny gave the interpretation41 it was very good meeting dismised with singing we thank the oh god for a prophet42 by the prymarys that were present benediction by [blank] In this evening I visited [p. 72] S B Layton Sisters, Snow & Young were thair Sister Snow said
asked sister Layton I would like to hear you speak in toungs a short time she did so & sister snow answered <in tongues>43 her sister Z Young gave the interpretation of both <SBL> said the spiret of god is here with us tonight & we are united spoke of the southers mission & of the trials she had & would have to pass through she bore a faithfull testimony to this work, sister Snow said we have not seen many days like today but we will see many more for the spirit of the lord will be poured out on the sisters foryou have a great work to do among the lamanites44 & you must be faithfull & prayrfull or you will get discouraged for it is a great work, & even now many of the lamanite woman are having dreams & visions of things that are to come and even know the words you will speak to them when you meet them but we must use wisdom for our enemies would be ready to shed our blood if thay knew what would come to pass among the Indians thay spok many more things that were good prompting us to be faithfull I never spent a better time sister Snow seemes very feeble to day when she blessed us it seemed to me like a farewell I could not help but feel it but if it is the lords will we must be resigned she has done a good work I went to choir practice . . .
Fri 27 I took the team it is the first time I have driv◊◊ [driven?] [p. 73] my colt she went all right, we went to a meeting of the officers of the relief Society . . . [p. 74] . . .
Tue 25 I went to meeting some of the sisters felt full of trouble I told them I thought we should feel very thankfull for the blessings of peace & plenty & try & look on the bright side45 . . .
Sun 30 It is the stake conferance for the young men & wiman here to day we went to
S S & too meetings Brother J F Smith spoke most of the forenoon on parents bringing thair children up right & setting them a good example told us if we had our littl quar[re]ls not to let our children hear us told us if we could not agree on religious points we had better part for our children would not be true to thair religion if thay are brought up in such strife
In the after noon Ziny Young y spoke first on training the young told the mothers to keep the confidence of thair sons & daughter & to keep them in at night told the sisters it is thair privlidge to wash and anoint one another & thair little ones, she told the children in the sunday school that when Brother J F Smith was born his father was in Jail & his mother was taken on a bed & took him to see his father46 told us Joseph Smith led the church 14 years [p. 78] & presedent Young 33 years
Sister [Anstis Elmina Shepherd] Taylor spoke next told the young ladys to learn to do buisness correctly told them to be virtueous & study the laws of life . . .47