Thursday, August 18, 2011

Brigham Jarvis in the Juvenile Instructor

These letters by a life-long resident of Salt Lake City, Lula Greene Richards, were meant for an audience of young children belonging to the Primary (children's) organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The heads of the auxiliary organizations of the church regularly toured the outlying areas of the church, and they continue to do so today.

These letters are valuable not only for the mention of Brigham Jarvis, the third child of George and Ann Prior Jarvis, but for the glimpse of life in St. George in the late 1890s.


St. George, Washington Co.,

Utah, June 15, 1896.

Dear Children: Think of being three hundred miles from home. That will seem like a long way to some of you. It seems quite a distance to me, when I think of my own home and children in Salt Lake City.

It was on the fourth of this month that I left home, with Sisters Mary Freeze and C. R. Wells, to visit the Primaries down here, and at some of the settlements between Salt Lake and St. George.

At Parowan, Summit and Cedar the children met with, and sung and recited for us, and listened to us so attentively that we felt well paid for the journey we had taken to see them. Every one seemed so willing to do what the Primary officers requested, and everything was done so well, we enjoyed all the meetings very much; and we felt all the time, whether we were in meeting or not, that everyone was so kind to us; we found with all whom we met the spirit of love and charity, shown in words and actions.

There may be some boys and girls in the Parowan Stake who are not always good and obedient to their parents and teachers; but we did not see them[.] And we asked those whom we did see to act as missionaries to those who might not be so good, and try to get them all to go to Primary meeting and to Sunday school.

The day we came to Parowan we passed through an open place in a mountain, called "The Gap." Bishop Adams of Parowan, with whom we were riding, stopped his team and let us get out of the carriage and look at some curious characters, called hieroglyphics, on the rocks. We were much interested in the figures, or writing, which must have been cut on those rocks a very long time ago. Some of the figures seem to represent men, others look like animals, snakes, walls, suns, balls, chess-boards, and many other shapes. You can find characters which look very much like some we saw on the rocks, in the Book of Abraham, Pearl of Great Price. I know two little Primary boys who like to look at the plates in that book, and get some older person to tell them what the characters mean. You can do the same if you wish.

The day we came to St. George we rode with Brother Brigham Jarvis. I want to tell you about Brother Jarvis' team. He said they belonged to the "Primary Department," and that was their first trip away from home. They were colts, five years old this month, had never been turned out, but raised right at home. We agreed that colts, like children, do better if they are kept at home instead of being allowed to run just as they please, until they are wanted to go to work. Those colts went along as steady as old horses, or more steady than some of the old horses do. Their names are Don and Duke; one is a dark and the other a light brown.

We have had a real nice Primary Conference here. The children have great faith in the gift of healing. One little boy, who was quite sick the day before Conference, through faith and the blessings of the Lord, was enabled to go to meeting and take part in the program. There are very bright and beautiful children here, the same as we find in all the Stakes of Zion, and kind and earnest sisters at work with them.

The Indians who live here are a great help to our people: the Indian women do the washing and scrubbing for their white neighbors. They are strong and work well. Some of them seem very attentive to the meetings. The Temple here, though not so large and grand as the one at Salt Lake, is filled with the same happy, restful spirit. God bless our children everywhere.

Your loving friend,

Lula [Greene Richards].


Dear Children: Last month I wrote to you from St. George, where I had gone to visit the Primaries.

I told you of the well-behaved colts which Brother Brigham Jarvis, who owns the team, said belonged to the Primary Department. When we were ready to leave St. George, and visit other settlements in the south, the same brother kindly accompanied us again; but this time he took a span of mares, which he said belonged to the Relief Society Department. One of them was the mother of one of the colts with which we had traveled before. The names of this team were Janet and Valessa.

Traveling in some parts of Dixie is very hard. Deep sand makes the roads heavy and the horses have to step slowly and pull hard to get the wagon along; sometimes the driver must let the team stop and rest every few yards or the poor horses would give out and could not go at all.

Brother Jarvis is a natural trainer and educator of animals. He treated the kind, faithful team with which we traveled with great tenderness; and yet the pulling was so very hard for them that one of them actually bled at the nose the day we left St. George.

We held meetings in several of the settlements — Sister Wells for the benefit of the Relief Society, Sister Freeze for the Young Ladies' Associations, and myself for the Primaries. Everywhere the humble spirit of love and peace seemed to prevail among the Saints; everywhere the children were so good and bright and beautiful. We were constantly reminded of a saying recorded in the Holy Bible. "Children are a heritage from the Lord; blessed is he that hath his quiver full of them."

One day while we were in St. George President David H. Cannon took us all through the holy Temple there, and told us much about its history that was good to listen to. We felt greatly blest; for although we had worked much in the Salt Lake Temple, it still seemed a choice privilege which we then had of entering the St. George Temple, the first one finished and dedicated to the Lord in Utah, where we now have four. The same heavenly influence which we felt in the temple seemed to be with all the humble, faithful Saints with whom we met, those whose diligence, industry and dauntless courage have made beautiful, happy homes all through the country there, where less determined, energetic people could not have lived.

The children born there seem to inherit the brave hearts and strong faith of their parents. It was indeed gratifying to meet with them, and our visit there will always be gratefully and lovingly remembered.

Brother Thomas Judd, Superintendent of the Washington Cotton Factory, invited us to visit through that building. We did so, and found much there that was very interesting. It is wonderful to see how many changes the cotton is put through before it comes out cloth ready for use. Brother David Morris showed us through the factory, and told us much that was instructive about it. Sometime I hope our people will have many more factories, and make much more of the strong, good cloth such as is made at Washington. We were given a souvenir each, two towels, twelve napkins, and gingham for an apron. This will often remind us of the hard-working, large-hearted people of Dixie.

That evening, June 16th, we held meetings at Toquerville, where we stayed over night. It was the hottest night throughout all the country there, so far as we learned, that had been known for several years.

In my next letter I shall tell you of wonderful Kanab, besides some other places.

Lula [Greene Richards].


Richards, Lula Greene, "Letter to the Primaries," in Deseret Sunday School Union, Juvenile Instructor, Salt Lake City, Volume 31, No. 14 (July 15, 1896), pp 437-38.

———, "Second Letter to the Primaries," in Deseret Sunday School Union, Juvenile Instructor, Salt Lake City, Volume 31, No. 16 (August 15, 1896), pp 499-500.

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