Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — July 28–August 8, 1884

And, now we know the name of the horse. Pope. Ann was pretty mad when he broke the buggy since it meant that with her precarious health, she would not be able to leave her house much. However, she took advantage of being stranded at home to read the Book of Mormon, and that seemed to lift her spirits.

Anne has noted several relatives leaving for Sanpete. They were going there to help build the Manti Temple, or support family members there.

Mon 28     Weather fair Anne H Milne started for Sanpete on last Saturday our Anne feels lonely she spent part of the day here I have been kniting to day

Anna Hess Milne.

Tuesd 29     Weather warm I attended my meeting to day Sister Woodbury called to day we had a letter from George & a note from Elanor give Anne a ride

Wed 30     Weather pleasant  Josey took Mary Alice Nelon home in the buggy Brig had his grain threshed

Thursday 31     Weather pleasant I have written to Eleanor to day

Friday 1 August Weather warm Em came here I took her home in the buggy

Sat 2     Weather warm Father has let Pope mash the buggy up I can stay home now

Sun 3     Weather sultry Father & Josey has gone to the funeral of Mr Whitelocks baby I pity them only those that has laid their dear ones away can realise the desolate feeling of parents

Mon 4     Weather moderate I am not able to do much to day as my eyes are weak I have wild hairs. (?) I feel rather depressed in spirits it is because I have to stay home so much bought bacon & sugar come to fifty cents for Anne

tusday 5     Weather fine

Wed 6     Weather warm

Thurs 7     Weather windy it is fast day Brig had his baby blest its name is Ethel I had dinner with them

Friday 8     Weather changeable sky dark stormy. I have read the book of Mormon through this week
     We shall soon be through with the warm weather
     the seasons come & go & bring us nearer to the change

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
Aug 7th Thursday 1884 Hot day. Went to fast meeting. Spoke a short time; showed that it was impossible to exhaust the Fountain of intelligence, that we were a much favored people in being permitted to come upon the earth in the last days...

Anne H Milne — Anna Hess Milne. David Milne had two living wives at this time, Ann's daughter Anne, and Anna Hess. His first wife, Susan Young, died in 1881. David had skills that were in demand for building the temple, so he was there along with George F. Jarvis and many other community members.

Sister Woodbury — There were a number of Woodburys in St. George, but this would have been Ann Cannon Woodbury (1832-1921), the mother of Eleanor Woodbury Jarvis, and she would have brought the letters from George and Eleanor.

Mary Alice Nelon — Mary Alice Thompson Nelson (1853-1915), the daughter of Robert Thompson and Alice Hulme Lougee and wife of William A. Nelson.

Pope — The horse!

Mr Whitelocks baby — Murkins Whitelock, see July 13. His grieving parents left St. George after his death.

the desolate feeling of parents — Ann is talking about the loss of her children Elizabeth Frances and Willie.

Ethel — See entry from July 19.

nearer to the change — "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so..."

C.G. Naegle, Anna Hess — CG Naegle collection, FamilySearch Family Tree. (Source.)

Valeri [pseud.] Murkins Whitelock gravestone, FindAGrave, used by permission. (Source.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — July 16–27, 1884

This installment details more family life: work, a birth, sicknesses, and a Pioneer Day Celebration that was much more festive than the Fourth of July for the residents of St. George in 1884. Ann notes, "I have twenty six living Grand children, five dead."

June 1884  July

Wed 16 Weather fine this is Georges birthday ^a month after^
      I went to meeting thinking it was tuesday sit in Marys part of the afternoon I was sorry to miss the meeting through my carelessness

Thur 17     Weather warm We called on Mrs White lock last evening. Father is not very well
     I have done some kniting Josey is making her a dress.

F 18     Weather pleasant cool nights & mornings
     I have been pareing apples to day. I am sorry to hear Eleanor is very sick again

Sat 19     Weather fair Mary gave birth to a daughter this morning I am not well I took Anne for a ride spent a very pleasant evening after I came home sent a letter to Maggie & Heber

Sun 20     Weather pleasant I went to Meeting Thomas & Em called in the evening Josey took them home in the buggy Amelia called in I have twenty six living Grand children five dead

Mon 21     Weather fine spent the day cooking din^n^er kniting Ect received a letter from Heber

Tuesd 22     Weather pleasant

Wed 23     Weather windy

Thur 24     Weather cloudy. We had a pretty good time good toasts & sentiments I had a nice ride for a few blocks We had a very good time 

Friday 25     Weather very warm we all feel sleepy and dull my eyes are painful

Sat 26     Weather fine I do not feel very bright for my eyes are weak and blood shot I expect it is caused by the intense heat of the weather

Sun 27     Weather very warm I went to meeting but I could not keep awake. I took Em home in the buggy

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
24 July Was celebrated after the usual style, Speeches, music, songs, and toasts, games and amusements in the P.M. All went off quite [sic] and peacefully.

went to meeting thinking it was tuesday — Relief Society.

Mary gave birth to a daughter — Ethel Jarvis (Bennett) (1884-1925) the daughter of Brigham and Mary Forsyth Jarvis. 

George's birthday — George Frederick Jarvis was born on June 16, 1847 in Poplar, London, England. Ann is getting her dates confused, as she notes above the line.

pretty good time good toasts & sentiments — Pioneer Day.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — July 5–15, 1884

In this rather hot installment we meet, for the first time (kind of), the horse. For all her ongoing interactions with the animal, Ann does not mention it much.

Rose seems to be doing better — she eventually died of Bright's Disease — but Eleanor continues to fail, and when the entire family leaves for Bellevue "Father" George provides some support for his son George's family, helping with their farm.

June July
Sat 5     Weather very warm attempted to go to the store could get as far as Whipples house and had to come back Father & I went to Pickets to supper it was his Mothers birthday her age was seventy one spent a pleasant evening

Sunday 6     Weather very dark & sultry I hope it will rain soon and cool the air We attended meeting Rose called in the evening  Thomas Em and babies I and Josey took  a ride George is in from Bellevue

Monday 7 Weather more pleasant there is a nice breeze
     George called in the evening he has come in for Rose & the children

Tues 8     Weather warm I am alone George has gone to Bellevue has taken Rose Father will attend the lot

Wed 9     Weather very warm spent the day at needle work

Thursday 10     Weather hot spent the day at sewing etc.
     went for a ride did not enjoy it was so warm fleas so thick on the horse

Friday 11     Weather very warm Josephines last day at school
     I have spent the day sewing ^on^ Fathers shirts
     I should like to see the folks in Arizona

Sat 12     Weather warm made a shirt for Father Anne was here tried to trim her sun [indecipherable]

Sunday 13     Weather warm Father & B Fawcett went to administer to Mr Whitelocks baby     the weather is to warm to live I shall be glad when the warm weather is over for this summer received a letter from Maggie

Monday 14     Weather cooler cut apples went over to Georges lot I am longing to travel again We hear there has been a thunder storm in Nutrioso killed two of Ed Browns horses knocked Sister Brown down

Tueday 15     Weather fine it is the relief society but I forgot it was the day

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
Sunday 6th Hot with a little sprinkle of rain. Went to the ward Sunday School and gave a few hints about the sacrament.

Whipples house — Probably the Caroline and Eli Whipple home, 44 East 100 South, St. George.

Pickets to supper...his Mothers birthday — Horatio Pickett, son of Susanna Mehitable Rogers Sangiovanni Pickett Keate, who was, as noted here, celebrating her birthday. People with roots in St. George may recognize Horatio's name from their family death certificates since he was the undertaker.

Father will attend the lot — George Jarvis will do the necessary farming while George F. is helping his invalid wife.

B[rother] Fawcett — Patriarch William Fawcett (1814-1904)

Mr Whitelocks baby — Murkins Alma Whitelock. His mother was Amanda Terry and his father was John Albert Whitelock of Gloucester, New Jersey, teacher at the high school for one year.
In Albert Whitelock, St. George had an excellent schoolmaster and administrator. He was a good disciplinarian, one who was respected for his sound scholarship and his ability to inspire his students to do their best. In the opinion of George E. Miles...he was the best teacher St. George had known up to the time of his coming. He was at St. George for but one school year, 1883-1884. (Larson, I Was Called to Dixie, 551.)
Cut apples — processing apples to dry and store

Ed Browns horses...Sister Brown — Edward Mumford Brown (1849-1920) son of Lorenzo and Frances Crosby Brown, and his wife Ella Jane Dodge Brown (1849-1920). They lived in Nutrioso for about a decade and then returned to St. George. They had no children.

"Eli Whipple Home," [article and photo] Washington County Historical Society," accessed August 18, 2014,

Larson, Andrew Karl. I Was Called to Dixie: The Virgin River Basin: Unique Experiences in Mormon Pioneering. Utah: Deseret News Press, 1961.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — June 23–July 4, 1884

This installment gives a few more hints as to Ann's chronic condition. I've assumed it was something to do with her kidneys, and the side and back pains may suggest that. Other data: weight gain, swelling, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea. History includes cholera, eleven live births, etc.

Don't miss Ann's wry comment on hearing some news from her daughter.

Next, this section reveals (as noted in the footnotes) that Ann's genealogy needs some good detailed work. In other words, I hadn't realized what a mess it was. It looks like families are confused and mixed together and sources are missing. Scottish research takes a particular skill set, and I wish I had the time and energy to get into it now.

And, finally, no one in the area knew what was coming, although there may have been a bit of foreshadowing given in the Fourth of July speeches, as reported by Ann, but the family and community were soon to be hit with a great tragedy. At the rate I'm currently posting, it may show up this week; if I post at a normal rate, it could be several weeks. 

Mon 23      Weather warm I went to Ems took her to the Store in my buggy spent the rest of the day there done some sewing
[In margin: W]

Tuesday 24     had my Great Uncle & Aunt Baptized for
      made the skirt of a Gigham dress [indecipherable] Anne is in trouble again George is going to Sanpete
[In margin: Wea]

Wed 25     Weather warm done needle work went out riding took Abey Walker
[In margin: Wea]

Abigail Middlemass Walker (1842-1931)

Thurs 26     Weather warm Rose spent the day with me Amelia went through the Temple for my Great Aunt finished my dress ^Amelia [indecipherable] took buggy
[In margin: Wea]

Friday 27      The last day for Temple work I went through there was a large company Weather windy
[In margin: W]

Sat 28     Weather very warm
[In margin: Wea]

Sun 29     Weather sultry I am sick not able to go to meeting pains in my side and back slept best part of the day
[In margin: Wea]

Mon 30     Weather very warm I am not able to work I am quite sick cannot eat or work went for a ride in the evening was to sore to enjoy it.

[In margin: indecipherable]

Tues 1     Weather very warm I am feeling a trifle better this morning  I hope I shall continue to improve health is a great blessing I was not able to attend my meeting to day  not able to take a ride in the buggy

Wedd 2     Weather warm I am feeling better this morning  I ate breakfast the first meal I have had since  Saturday  I feel so sleepy all the time

Thursday 3     Weather very warm but there is a breeze that cools the air I did not attend Fast meeting but walked to the Lyceum to our monthly meeting in the evening brought Milne flour  from the office Josey and I had a nice ride in the buggy

Fri 4     Weather fine the Nations holiday History repeats herself they were opresed now they try to opress us  the Lord is very angry with them for their wickedness sent a letter to Maggie done some sewing

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — June 10–22, 1884

In this installment Ann continues to deal with her chronic illness, working and attending meetings as possible. I'm still looking for clues about her ongoing health problems. 

In the last installment, Ann could not attend meetings since her only Sunday dress was too warm as the season changed, so we see her starting to sew a new one. She was a trained and talented seamstress and also trained her daughters in the craft.

Another story line here involves her son George. (As always, when she says "George," she means her oldest son.) He took his invalid wife Eleanor to Bellevue, probably for her health, but meanwhile his second wife, Rose, became ill at home.

Tus 10     Weather very sultry sent a letter to Charley to day spent the day kniting washing dishes ect I have not been out to day I was disturbed in my sleep last night Father was watering

Wed 11     Weather rain. I woul like to do more work than I do  
     I spent the day at needle work cooking I took Em some R^h^ubard I took Anne for a ride and some of Annes Children

Thurs 12     Weather fine received a letter from Sam

Frid 13     Weather blustering trying to make a dress feel sleepy such a task to work when I do not feel well I did not attend my Conference fell miserable

Sat 14 Weather Warm    went to conference Br Taylor spoke  his preaching was very good. Anne & I went riding went to the funeral of Br Mcdonnald Child

Sunday 15    Weather fine  I went to meeting in the morning I was late I did not hear the preaching I stayed at Em in the afternoon rode out in the evening with Josey Sister Knele & [indecipherable] called

Mon 16     Weather Georges birthday [^age^] 27 George Ate dinner here we played checkers We are invited to supper at five oclock at his home spent a pleasant Evening a Georges played checkers

Tus 17     Weather fine I did not attend my meeting to day Sister Crosby sent for me on particular business played checkers with George he intends taking Eleanor to morrow to Bellevue

Wed 18     Weather very warm. I finished my dress to day Father & I rode out this evening called on Em she and babies are well Thomas is at the Santa Clara

Thur 19     Weather warm made me a dress G has taken Eleanor to Bellevue   making me a dress

Friday 20    Weather very warm thundering & lightning poor little Emma has hurt her thumb has lost her nail  Rose is sick   Anne ^W^ Jarvis is sick Georges Child

Sat 21     Weather Sultry finished my dress took Em for a ride then Josey Father has to water his lot to night    had our stove moved. made soap

Sun 22     Weather warm went to meeting took Anne to see Rose  she is very sick

There are no entries in Charles Lowell Walker's diary for this time period.

Br McDonnald Child — This is Joseph Booth McDonald (1883-1884), the son of Joseph Booth Macdonald (1857-1942) and Mary Virginia Ashby (1859-1899). He was a grandchild of Alexander Findlay Macdonald.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — June 5–9, 1884

Thurs [June] 5 Weather warm I went to fast meeting went to the monthly Meeting went to see Em stayed with her untill her son was born. about nine at night I am glad it is a Son

Friday 6 Weather windy received two letters and five papers by last nights mail from Charley & Maggie [in Arizona] Went to see Eleanor she is very sick

Sat 7 Weather fine had a ride in the evening took Anne with me went to see Eleanor & Em Eleanor more cheerful

Sun 8 I did not go to meeting as I did not have a dress but flannel to warm Father took me for a ride over his land in the field Called on Em she was [indecipherable] ^well^

Mon 9 Weather warm I have written a letter to Charley Father gave me fifty cents called on Em had a ride

Brief excerpt from Charles Lowell Walker's Diary.
June 5  Getting to be warm weather....rains are helping the farmers much in this country.

Went to fast Meeting and spoke a short time, expressing my thanks to God for his blessings unto Me. Touched on the origin of Man, showing [him] to be of Celestial origin...[paragraph about Darwin, etc.]... The Brethers and Sisters expresed themselves as much interested and comforted at what little I said. This was also comforting to Me, knowing of Myself I could not do this unles God prompted the words and to him be all the praise.

Em's son — This is the birth of Thomas Cottam (1884-1970). Emmaline Jarvis and Thomas Punter Cottam's first child was a daughter, Emma Jarvis Cottam (1882-1976).

His land in the field — Since St. George followed the Mormon town planning system with all the settlers living in town and traveling to their farms in the surrounding lands, it would have taken awhile to take a ride to "the field," as they called it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Finding Thankful, Joshua, and Tabitha

See previous discussions of the mystery surrounding Joshua Tanner's burial: (Surname books and the Reed's Corner Mystery) and (Joshua Tanner and the Elusive Reed's Corner).

In 1917 volunteers associated with the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) scoured the towns of Greenwich and Easton, New York, looking for old cemeteries and burials.  A distant cousin and local farmer, Oscar W. Tefft (1865-1934), drove around and cataloged all the old burial plots tucked into corners of area farms. Oscar was very interested in family and local history. He helped with the research for the book The Tefft Ancestry (Stocking, 1904).

When he drove up and down the old farm roads and highways in 1917, the burial locations he found had between one and a couple dozen headstones as well a variety of graves marked only by slates. [1]

Oscar listed 19 farm cemeteries and gave each a name: Koert L. Foster's Farm, Alpheus Barber Farm, Daniel Tefft Farm, William Hartshorn Farm, and so forth.

After Oscar and others finished their explorations, they compiled the lists and sent them to be published in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record

Some of the cemeteries, particularly the larger ones, are still in existence, but a century later some may be unknown, or grave markers could be missing or inscriptions worn off, so Oscar Tefft and the others provided a valuable service to the community.

In recent years websites including GenWeb put this data online, but as with any type of indexed information, it's worth going back to the first known compilation.

— o o O o o —

Several months ago, Karen Bray Keeley noted on Family Tree that Joshua Tanner was buried in the William Hartshorn Farm Cemetery. She had seen the name "Joshua Turner" and recognized that the other burials in the small cemetery were Joshua and Thankful's grandchildren, so "Turner" was a misreading of Tanner, and now thanks to Karen we know where Joshua is buried.

I saw her note on Friday and although she used one of the secondary sources it was enough to find the original list.

As I read through the lists, many names were familiar: Tanner, Tefft, Barber, Kenyon. Since so many Tanner relatives migrated in great waves from Washington County, Rhode Island, to Washington County, New York, these families lived and died within miles of each other. [2]

The list cleared up a few mysteries.

John Tanner's first wife, Tabitha Bently Tanner, is buried in the Koert L. Foster Farm Cemetery, one mile north of Greenwich. [3] She is buried next to her father Elisha Bently, her sister Mercy Bently, and her mother Sarah Bently Rose. [4] This means that the Elisha Tanner who migrated west with John Tanner and his family was not Tabitha's father as Pioneers and Prominent Men claims. Instead the Elisha mentioned in the book may be a brother or other relative.

Here is the list showing Joshua Tanner, transcribed Turner, five grandchildren, and son-in-law John Wellwood. The death dates of the grandchildren are between 1816 and 1826, which indicates that Tanner relatives were living on the farm until at least that date.

No surprise:
Based on the Greenwich grave records, the information in this Tanner genealogy is largely incorrect.
From Maurice Tanner, Descendants of John Tanner, The Tanner Family Association, 1923.

Many of the family trees show the John and Esther Tanner Wellwood family living in Mexico, Oswego, New York, but they were clearly located in Greenwich, and Esther continued to live in the area until at least 1855. By 1860 she had joined one of her sons in Mexico, but it is incorrect to list her children as being born in Mexico. Additionally, many families list a son John in this family with the same death date as Esther's husband John. Due to the possible confusion created by this list, the existence of a son John needs to be proved separately.

— o o O o o —

The list of burials at the William Hartshorn Farm Cemetery includes an inscription on a stone that says simply "T.T." Thankful Tefft Tanner died in 1822, so there is a good chance that she died and was buried next to her husband on the farm where she had lived for decades.

Why would she have been buried in Greenwich when she was shown living in Greenfield, Saratoga, New York in the 1820 census? A quick look at Google suggests an answer: Greenfield was adjacent to Saratoga Springs, which was where people, including invalids, went to "take the waters," or use the mineral waters for their supposed health benefits. It makes more sense that she would have relocated temporarily for health reasons than that she would have randomly moved 23 miles west to a town with no known relatives.

Why didn't Thankful have a normal gravestone? There are at least four possible reasons.

First, she may have had one and it may have been broken or disappeared during the intervening century.

Second, she was a widow. It is likely that she would only have had a stake in any real property (farm land and dwellings) until her death, and living as a widow for so many years could have reduced her circumstances.

Third, her death occurred during the aftermath of the Great Panic of 1819. Times would have been hard and cash would have been scarce for farmers. 

Fourth, her oldest son John Tanner had moved to Bolton Landing and had a large family and many financial demands. Her daughter Esther Tanner Wellwood who, as the deaths of her children attests, lived there on the farm, was recently widowed. Thankful's youngest son William may have taken over the farm after John Wellwood died, and he was just starting out in life, so there may have been no family members able to purchase an expensive headstone.

— o o O o o —

These records leave a few questions. 

First, is there anything I missed? Do you read any of the records differently?

Second, where are these graves? I cannot find any of these farm cemeteries in FindAGrave or Billion graves except for the Alpheus Barber Cemetery. (That is the burial location for another of John Tanner's sisters and her gravestone is still there.) I have put out some requests for information, but have not heard back from anyone yet.

— o o O o o —

Thanks to Oscar Tefft we have a better picture of the Greenwich Era in the Tanner family history. In appreciation I left a "flower" and brief note on his FindAGrave entry.


[1] Although the following article is primarily about Dutch settlers in the region, it explains the different type of markers found in cemeteries from this era. (Brandon Richards, "Fieldstone Burial Markers in the Upper Mid-Atlantic Colonies," January 23, 2010, link.)

[2] The great family migration that John Tanner participated in while he was a boy certainly prepared him with the practical knowledge and experience he would need much later in life when his family moved in other great migrations: first to Kirtland, then to Missouri, Illinois, and Utah. The practical training he gave his sons benefitted many others in the Church as they helped lead wagon trains and freight back and forth between western settlements.

[3] The name is alternately listed Bently and Bentley. The government records from the time use "Bently" so I mostly use that, but it isn't too important; either spelling works.

[4] The others in the Koert Foster cemetery may also be Bently relatives.

Picture of rural Westchester County, New York cemetery from Flickr.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

...and here you thought taxes were boring...

Ancestry has recently published or indexed a great new source, the New York State Tax Assessments from 1799 to 1804. Here are the records for Joshua Tanner and then also for his son John as he matures and starts to work part of the Tanner farm in Argyle, Washington, New York. In 1803 Argyle was split and the part the Tanners lived in became Greenwich. We will see that transition in the records.

1799 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner, Argyle, New York

Names of Possessors…Description of Real Estate…Value of Real Estate…Value Personal…Tax Dollar Cents

Joshua Tanner…Farm…$506.40…$171.00…$0.67

The absolute values are not so meaningful, but when you go through the list and compare the farm values to other properties in the town, you can tell that the Tanners were respectable, although not wealthy. You can also see that they were living surrounded by family members: cousins, uncles and aunts, and a variety of in-laws.

1800 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner and John Tanner, Argyle, New York

Names of Possessors...Real [Property (land)]...Personal [Property (cash or movable property)]...Tax

Tanner Joshua...988...124...$2.36
Tanner John..."...63...$0.12

1801 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner and John Tanner, Argyle, New York

Taner Joshua…  …250…506.60…130…$1.//
Taner John…Joshua Farm…  …300…68… $0.68

1802 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner and John Tanner, Argyle, New York

Possessors Names…Owners Names…Value of Real Estate…Value of Personal Property…Taxes to be paid thereon

Tanner John…Joshua Tanner…476…118…$0.65
Tanner Joshua… …988…242…$1.35

1803 New York Tax Assessment, Joshua Tanner and John Tanner, Greenwich, New York

Argyle has just been split and the Tanner farm is now in the new town of Greenwich.

Joshua Tanner… …1000…214…$2.06
John Tanner [possessor]…Joshua Tanner [owner of farm]…476 [real estate]…144 [person property]…$1.30 [tax owed]

1804 New York Tax Assessment

This only lists unpaid taxes and fortunately the Tanners are not on the list.

The old stone bridge in Argyle is used as is from Doug Kerr at Flickr under a Creative Commons license. The picture of the area farm and hill is used as is from Sébastien Barré under a Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Building a Home for the Relief Society [Updated]

Before the modern correlated era, the Relief Society was largely in charge of its own finances and programs. In many pioneer communities the organization built a Relief Society Hall for meetings and service projects. The Relief Society helped new mothers, cared for the sick, and dressed the dead. They held testimony meetings, spoke in tongues, blessed each other, stored wheat for a time of need, and kept generally busy.

Around the time of World War II, the general Relief Society in Salt Lake City decided (once again) that it needed its own office. In 1945, new Relief Society President Belle Spafford began to plan and arrange for the building. Read the story in this lovely new picture history:

Each sister in the Relief Society was asked to donate five dollars and the First Presidency would match each donation. Five dollars was a lot of money in that time, so many Relief Societies held fund raisers and bazaars to raise the necessary money. The building was dedicated in 1956.

Here you can see it on Google Streetview in its location across from the Salt Lake Temple, Church History Library, and Conference Center, and next to the Church Office Building.

The Church History Library has just put a list of the donors online. Here are some names that will be familiar to readers of this blog:

(Why was Margaret in St. David at the time?)

Here is the card Mary Linton Morgan received upon sending in her donation, which was certainly the widow's mite, given her circumstances.

The picture of the Relief Society Hall in Bicknell, Utah is from Flickr, courtesy of Jimmy Emerson, DVM.

Guest Posting: Heber J. Grant Recalls Two Excommunications

Posted and being discussed at Keepapitchinin: The Mormon History Blog.

The following recollections come from a 1937 letter of President Heber J. Grant to the family of John Morgan (1842-1894), a Civil War veteran and one of the Presidents of the Seventy. Paragraphs have been added for readability. [I've never blogged the whole letter here, because some of it — yes, the Three Nephites story — requires additional explanation.]

In early days the Bishops with their counselors were permitted to have trials and excommunicate men from the Church. One of my nearest and dearest and best beloved friends was excommunicated by the Bishopric of his Ward, and I considered it nothing short of an outrage. I desired to be present to testify in his behalf, but was not permitted to be at the meeting. I sat on the outside of the meeting house on the top of a high post. A fence was being built around the meeting house and the boards of the fence had not been put on, but the posts were set up and I climbed on top of one of these posts and could see and hear the people in the second story of the meeting house, and I heard the whole proceedings.

To many of the questions that were asked of my friend, I answered: “No, I would not do any such thing,” and I felt so mad at the Bishop’s counselor who was asking the questions of my friend and it was many years before I could have any respect for him. He was a very devoted Latter-day Saint, but he was not charitable. The thing that outraged me was that my friend was put in with a crowd of boys who were really no good, and they were all excommunicated at the same time.

It happened in early days that charges were made against John Morgan in the Thirteenth Ward, and the late Bishop Edwin D. Woolley and his counselors had a trial and excommunicated him. A ruling has since been made that the Bishoprics cannot excommunicate men holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, they can only disfellowship them and pass up their cases to the High Council for a final decision. The day following the excommunication of Brother Morgan he met President George A. Smith, and said:

“Well, President Smith, they cut me off the Church last night.”

“Did you deserve it?” said President Smith.


“Have you appealed your case to the High Council?”

“Oh, if they don’t want me in the Church they don’t need to have me.”

President Smith said: “Brother Morgan, do you know the Gospel is true?”

“Yes,” said John Morgan.

“Well, if you want to go to hell, go to hell.” And he walked off without any further comment.

John Morgan was a natural born fighter. Anyone who really knew him knew he was as full of fight for the Church of anything he believed in, as the saying is, as an egg is full of meat. He and Brother [B. H.] Roberts were both first class fighters in the mission field for the cause of truth.

Brother Morgan, after the remark of Brother George A. Smith, decided to appeal his case to the High Council of Salt Lake Stake. The Salt Lake Stake at that time included all of Salt Lake County. Brother Morgan being very popular, the Council House, which was located where the Union Pacific Building is now, where the trial was held, was filled by his pupils during the trial. The old Deseret University was formerly held in the Council House, which was located where the Union Pacific Building is now.

When the decision was rendered by President Angus M. Cannon, he announced that no matter what the audience voted it would not change the decision in the least, and said, so I was informed, “We should like very much to have an expression, however, from those who have attended the hearings in this case, as we have never had such a large audience before in any case that was ever held before the High Council. A vote was called, and it was practically unanimous.

Bishop Woolley was one who voted in favor of sustaining the decision of the High Council and expressed his great pleasure that the decision of the Bishop’s court had been set aside because of additional evidence that had been produced and it showed that the Bishop had made a mistake. Brother Cannon asked for those who were opposed to the decision to manifest it, I have forgotten whether it was by holding up their hands or by standing. I believe it was a standing vote, but I would not be sure.

Of course this entire statement that I am making comes from hearsay. My recollection is that [it was] Brother Hamilton G. Park who told me the story originally. I used to go around as a youngster in my teens with Brother Hamilton G. Park as a Teacher. He did all the teaching, by the way, and I simply made a report at the monthly meeting of the Bishopric and the Teachers. To my mind one of the most inspirational men I ever knew was Hamilton G. Park.

As I recall it there were six men who felt and voted that John Morgan should be excommunicated. They were Willie B. Godbe who I think was first counselor to Bishop Edwin D. Woolley at the time, Godbe’s brother, Anthony, James Cobb, E.L.T. Harrison, William Sherman, and Eli B. Kelsey. They have all since apostatized. Inasmuch as Bishop Woolley was the one who cut Brother Morgan off the Church he no doubt wanted to make amends as far as possible after Brother Morgan was reinstated and after he became the President of the Southern States Mission, and I recall that Brother Morgan many times was asked if he would come to the Thirteenth Ward and speak when he came to General Conference.

The pictures are Heber J. Grant; John Morgan, courtesy of Karen M.; and the Council House in 1869.