Sarah Maria Davis Thatcher, Diary
- The diary of Sarah Thatcher includes irregular entries from 1878 to 1887. Only 44 pages of the 177 page ledger book are filled with diary entries. On the five succeeding pages there are several items posted to the pages. These are: a certificate of proficiency in the Tonic Sol'Fa Method of singing dated February 12, 1864; an undated sheet of paper labeled "Flour Acct;" a newspaper clipping (undated) entitled "Easter Thoughts Turn From Vain Things to the Eternal Verities;" a newspaper clipping (undated) describing the International Council of Women held in Washington, D. C. in 1888; two newspaper clippings (undated) on home remedies; and a handwritten account of hours worked and pay due (source and date unknown). Sarah's diary is a short but dramatic record of the torment and deprivation of a polygamous marriage. Sarah was a well educated, articulate diarist with a sardonic wit. But she also had a strain of melancholia and self-doubt which ill-suited her to a life as a second wife. Sarah lived in a constant state of despair and bitterness. The diary begins in January, 1878, five years after Sarah married John Bethuel Thatcher. John's first wife Rachel (Sarah's sister) her children, and Sarah all lived in the same house in Logan. Sarah frequently sought refuge at her mother's home in Salt Lake City where she spent months at a time away from John and Rachel. In 1870 John built Sarah her own home where she enjoyed some independence but found herself even more isolated from the affectionate companionship she desired. When John and Rachel moved to Gentile Valley, Idaho in 1881, Sarah was forced to sell her house and move into Rachel's old home in Logan. John visited infrequently, leaving little for Sarah's material support. In January 1882 Rachel was killed in an accident and Sarah, with her two young sons, moved to Gentile Valley to care for Rachel's children. The bonds of her marriage long since shattered by emotional neglect, physical hardship, and family strife Sarah found life with John in Idaho unbearable. She returned to Logan in June of 1884. Gaps in the diary make Sara's activities for the next two years unclear. In June 1886 she moved into a new home in Logan once again. After 1886 Sarah's life became more peaceful as she enjoyed the quiet of her own home, the companionship of her children and greater fellowship in her Church. The final entry in the diary is dated September 18, 1887. Extracts follow:
- Tuesday, January 1, 1878 (Logan, Utah)
- "Once more I start a journal, the entries in which will undoubtedly be brief ones."
- Thursday, January 3, 1878
- "...I feel perfectly demented lately. Yesterday afternoon J.[ohn] brought Miltie home stating he'd been dead drunk down on the ice. Mother T.[hatcher] gave him a bottle of whiskey to take to Mary, and he went off with it and drank enough to make him drunk."
- Monday, January 29, 1878
- "...Yesterday R.[achel] had a 'big dinner' or family dinner. Father and Mother T.[hatcher] and Jane, Joe and Hannah, Aaron and Mary, Harriett, Geo. and Luna, Lettie and Sr. Farr, and Charley and Mary Hurst. I couldn't even put on the potatoes to cook right. What under heavens was I born for I wonder....[My mother] expects to have to give up her home soon, for the prospects of having the mortgage foreclosed are looming up. I wish I could help her get a home, but my hands are tied now."
- Thursday, February 14, 1878
- "...Valentin's Day! No more for me from this time henceforth."
- Wednesday, February 27, 1878
- "One week ago today my first-born child made his entrance into this world of trial and preparation for the great hereafter. God give me wisdom and power to train him in the way he should go that his life may be one of righteousness, thoroughly devoted to the cause of truth!...The thought of the responsibility connected with the raising and training of children had filled me with dismay for months. I have my convictions and plans but circumstances as they are now will prevent my carrying them out. And the future--as it now appears, and unavoidable--I dread! Oh! I dread it. I thought, some time in the past, that I knew a little bit about myself but now-a-days I exist in a state of perfect bewilderment....I get so dispairing when I think of my past hopes, plans and expectations, and my present life. Circumstances control me to such an extent, because my nature is so very yielding and weak; and where there is so much superiority of will power and judgment in those with whom one is associated... the situation becomes a trying one to certain sensibilities. I craved love and sympathy too much to think of being a polygamous wife if I had only realized it."
- Thursday, March 7, 1878
- "...Yesterday father and mother T.[hatcher], Moses and Lettie were down here to dinner and my baby was blessed by Moses. He is named Franklin Davis Thatcher. Moses[s] gave him the best blessing I ever heard given a child under the same circumstances."
- Saturday, March 16, 1878
- "...I am afraid next month will be stormy, and I don't wish it to be for I want to go down home, and John said this morning we would see how the weather is [at] Conference time, and maybe I could go.... I fully expect to have work during the summer, and I certainly ought to do everything I possibly can to help pay my way. I'm not earning my salt now, let alone my bread and potatoes. It seems like there is something wrong about me having such an easy time just now in every way, when Rachel had such a hard time. She undoubtedly draws a comparison."
- Monday, March 18, 1878
- "Saturday evening I received a little wrapper from mother for baby...I was much surprised for I never dreamed of getting a present from her. John said to Gil[bert] "She never sent you a wrapper." Will there always be feelings if I receive anything without her getting the same I wonder? I don't get favors everytime she does."
- Sunday, April 14, 1878
- "...Gil[bert] has been scratching the baby again this morning and I told him I'd box his ears till they would ring if he didn't stop it. I wasn't out of the room five minutes...and when I came in G[ilbert] was just leaving the chair and there were a number of scratches on his [the baby's] head two of which were bleeding. He has scratched him quite a number of times before and Wed. he hit him in the head with a rock."
- Thursday, June 27, 1878
- "I'm in Salt Lake again. At home with mother. Left Logan June 7th....Thurs. Geo. Thatcher told mother I would be down next day, and so she invited a few of the young folks to go to the depot to meet me. Bought strawberries, and cooked up some nice things to have a little supper after my arrival."
- Tuesday, October 22, 1878
- "Today is John's birthday. He is forty four years old. The 23d of last Aug. Rachel had her eleventh child. A boy."
- Thursday, October 24, 1878
- "...Mother expects to start for St. George the second of next month, and wishes me to go down and keep house for the boys but John is opposed to it. I want to go so badly, but I have no money to pay my way this time. Wish I could earn some. Propose doing the housework here this winter to save expense."
- Thursday, October 31, 1878
- "Mother will probably not go to St. George. Her health is poor and I can't go to keep house for her....John was elected President of the Y. M. M. I. Association last Monday."
- Wednesday, December 25, 1878
- "We have all been up to Moses' today. He had quite a crowd....I enjoyed myself much better than I expected."
- Thursday, January 2, 1879
- "...Johny asked me to go to a party tomorrow night. Hardly know what to do about it. It was a year ago Tuesday since I got this book and only seven pages written. Not much for reference."
- Thursday, January 9, 1879
- "...Day before yesterday the Supreme Court of the U. S. gave its decision in the Reynolds polygamy case. It decided that the law of '68 is constitutional, and that R.[eynolds] pay the fine imposed and be imprisoned the length of time allotted by the lower courts. The laws of our country now absolutely outlaw such persons as yours truly."
- Monday, February 3, 1879
- "...Several days ago I asked John if I could go home. He said he thot I was home. I said I didn't think so. Yesterday I asked again and he said I couldn't have asked for means in a worse time as he'd just bought Johny's harness. Then wanted to know how long I wished to stay. I said six months. He said nobody down there wanted me to board that [long]. Afterwards [he] said I might go but he wanted me to come back [by] Conference for he intended putting me in my own house before six months were up if he could scrape together enough money to get me a stove. Strange! that a man with about twenty years experience in housekeeping didn't know it would cost something at least to keep another family, and, if he couldn't afford it he shouldn't have undertaken it. I didn't know he was so poor, for years ago he spoke of making me a happy home... and of course, I thot he could afford it....If I could only have a little place to myself somewhere else, how much better it would be."
- February 13, 1879
- "I expect to start home next Saturday. Wrote to Frank to meet me at the depot. I'll be so glad if I get off. John says I must come back [for] Conference, but I don't want to promise anything of the kind, for I'd like to stay four or five months."
- Sunday, April 13, 1879
- "I returned from mother's last Wed.....I expect to go to housekeeping soon now, the sooner the better, I think. I'll always be an idiot now anyway I can fix it I guess. Hattie is going to try to come up this summer. I would like her to very much. But maybe I wouldn't enjoy it as I once would have done, for everything is different now. I am utterly discouraged. I once took such pleasure in studying and learning. There seems to be such a weight of restraint on my mind as to entirely preclude understanding or remembrance."
- Tuesday, April 15, 1879
- "At the Annual Conference just past Moses Thatcher was appointed one of the Twelve Apostles in place of Orson Hyde, lately deceased. A great many think John will be appointed to take his place as Pres. of the Stake. I would rather he would have the place than anyone else here. I hope Preston won't get it....I expect to go to housekeeping soon now. Shouldn't wonder the stove would be bought today; it's payday."
- Sunday, April 20, 1879
- "My stove came Friday. I moved nearly all my things over yesterday....Slept here last night. The first night I ever slept here, I was entirely alone; last night I had my baby boy. God willing, I'll not be alone any more. Lizzie, R. [achel's] girl--thinks this such a nice little house, and said last night, "Now, if you only had a husband coming home to you every night how nice it would be." I'm afraid if I did I might "worship man" a little too much."
- Tuesday, April 29, 1879
- "Father Thatcher died Sunday (April 27, 1879) night at 18 minutes before twelve.... The scene was heart-rendering. He suffered dreadfully. Later. John has just been over and talked to me in so comforting a way, that it has taken a great load off my heart. I dreaded his coming over here for, I felt afraid of him. But he told me as God was his witness, his heart was full of love for me and my little ones. But I realize how he is placed for he was married to her so long before as his wife, and it hurts her so. Oh! if I could be patient. If I could only do right everything will be satisfactory some time."
- Tuesday, May 6, 1879
- "We rec'd a postcard from father yesterday stating that grandmother died the 26th of April. Just one day before father T.[hatcher]. She was 86 yrs. old last Oct. I think."
- Friday, May 9, 1879
- "Just three weeks tomorrow since I moved, but am only prepared now to start housekeeping in earnest. Quite an era in my experience! What a variety of commencements!
- Sunday, May 25, 1879
- "...J.[ohn] told me last Wed. that if he came here to stop it would be on Thurs. or Fri. maybe both. He couldn't make any rules. Would always stay over there Sat. night in order to get ready for missionary work Sun.....[Johny's] birthday dinner [last Thursday] was the first meal [John] had eaten here. And supper that same day was the last."
- Tuesday, June 10, 1879
- "June 9th is quite a memorable day for me[.] I've been thinking today. In the first place Frankie cut his first tooth, nearly sixteen months old too. Next John bo't me a nice stone jar to put my butter down in and, thirdly he got me a large looking glass.... I am wondering and wondering what I'll do this winter here alone. Would like to go and live with mother, only it is so far from John. Still he never enters this house oftener than once a week, so I don't suppose he could care if we were a million miles away."
- Tuesday, July 1, 1879
- "I went over to [Rachel's house to] help today, and R.[achel] told me she could do what there was to do herself, so long as the baby kept well. That means my room is better than my company I presume and that our bother is greater than my help. I wanted to help, and felt like I was doing so, but I guess not."
- Saturday, July 26, 1879
- "...The 24th was a very lonesome day to me. Towards evening I went up to mother [Thatcher's], and oh! how I wished I had my own mother's to go to for a little while. John never comes here, and no one else calls in to relieve the monotony of my existence. I think I have made the last visit I'll make for some months....John says he is going to build a porch and buttery on the west side of this house, but when I see the men go to work I'll consider I may count on it."
- Wednesday, September 24, 1879
- "A week ago this evening I had another little son. A ten pounder this time; a fat little darling.... Sr. Baugh is nursing me. I'll do alone--with Hattie's help--after the baby is ten days old, and Rachel says she will keep one of the girls from school to help me but I don't want one of her children kept from school to wait on me."
- Tuesday, October 14, 1879
- "Twenty seven years old today! And three years married."
- Sunday, April 11, 1880
- Friday I returned from a long visit to the city bringing Lizzie Ann with me. I left here the 30th of last Dec.....John was down about two weeks after I got there and stayed one night....I made Frank a little coat out of mother's old satine [sic] dress and John lectured me...because it was so stylish, when all the style consists in a few little velvet straps across the back. I like it. While I was away John had a kitchen and cellar started for me. I shall be glad when they are done."
- Sunday, May 25, 1880
- "My cellar, kitchen and well are finished so I can use them, yesterday."
- Sunday, June 6, 1880
- "...John told me the other night that I made a complete failure in the training of my children. Then I said I did the very best I know how, and that there was a difference in the disposition of children, and they had to be treated differently, he said it was the training that made them different."
- Monday, June 7, 1880
- "...How much better off I am than I was last summer! Then I had just the two rooms and what was absolutely necessary. Now I have an additional room, a cellar, a well, and several needful and handy articles about the house. I am thankful."
- Sunday, July 4, 1880
- "...Johny has gone to [Salt Lake] to buy him a wagon, and will bring my secretary back with him. Father is making it for me. Told me when I was down that he had never done much for us younger ones and wanted to make something we could keep after he was gone. He will give Frank a secretary also, and R. [achel] a bureau....I sent for Ruth [to help with the housework] and John doesn't like it. Oh! I do get so lonesome and blue sometimes, that I am nearly crazy. But John says it will be three or four dollars extra expense."
- Sunday, July 11, 1880
- "...Mother T.[hatcher] called over here a few minutes about two weeks ago; the first time she'd been here since Roy was a month or two old....Suppose I said something awful when she was here. John had got me calico for two dresses and ten yards for aprons for myself and children. R.[achel] told Mother T.[hatcher] that day that John grumbled at getting so much calico for me, and she told him he mustn't get any more wives if he couldn't keep the ones he had. He said he was going to get one who could keep herself next time. That made me angry, and I said I didn't think he'd find many that would do better than I had, for it was the first time he'd bought me any calico dresses and this is the fourth summer I've been his wife. R.[achel] said Oh! I'd had one before. Yes, but that was off of a bolt of damaged calico that only cost six cts a yard, I said. I think they'd better throw that at me. That dress cost 55 cts."
- Sunday, July 18, 1880
- "...John ate dinner here Friday, but he bro't Gil[bert] as usual. I don't mind once in a while, but if it's going to be a regular thing I object."
- Sunday, August 8, 1880
- "Somebody--mother I think--is sending me the Household. John says it isn't worth reading, but he says a great many things."
- Sunday, December 5, 1880
- "So long since I have written any in this!...went to the city; mother was sick....Have had a great deal of work on hand ever since. Have done about ten dollars worth of knitting since, besides R.[achel's]."
- Sunday, January 9, 1881
- "Johny went down to the city to spend New Years, and L.[izzie] A.[nn] writes me he and Will Card spent most of their time at the billiard hall. I think as she does: the less he visits Salt Lake the better....J.[ohn] sent word he would be here to dinner New Years (he hasn't eaten or stayed here since the first of November) so I asked [Rachel] too, but she wouldn't come.
- Wednesday, February 16, 1881
- "...Rachel had been very sick, had no girl, so for two weeks I was over there working for her. It will be four weeks next Sunday since she was taken."
- Monday, May 16, 1881
- "...I had a little daughter born the 14th--mother's birthday--which I shall name Sarah after her."
- Sunday, May 22, 1881
- "...John gave Gil[bert] and Henry each ten cents to give in [to the Temple fund] but he never gave Frank any money but once in his life, and that was ten cents New Years day, which I've put away as a curiosity among my "treasures."
- Friday, June 24, 1881
- "Fanny Thatcher is visiting Logan, and yesterday she was here. I enjoyed her visit very much but made a fool of myself as usual by getting so nervous and excited that I hardly knew what I was trying to do at all."
- Thursday, August 10, 1881
- "John has bo't a farm in Gentile Valley (in connection with others) and intends going up there next week. The bargain was completed yesterday."
- Sunday, August 28, 1881
- "John and Miltie went to Gentile Valley last Wed. Don't know how long they will remain. Mr. Spencer is to have this house the 1st of October. Leased for one year. The partners with John are George W. Thatcher and Wm. B. Preston. Equal shares. The cost was $4500; making $1500 each....I understand now I am to remain in Rachel's house, so I'll keep my piano. John talks of renting the front of the house."
- Sunday, September 25, 1881
- "Last Monday John moved me over to R.[achel's] house and Wednesday morning they started for Gentile Valley. Haven't heard from them yet."
- Sunday, October 16, 1881
- "Last Friday I was twenty nine years old....Moses Thatcher returned from Mexico last week and called here Thursday. Yesterday I promised to rent three rooms to Br. Stewart, also lately returned from Mexico."
- Sunday, October 23, 1881
- "Bro. Stewart called today to say his wife is coming Thursday, so I'll have to empty the rooms forthwith. Will and Milt came home from Gentile Valley Friday for goods. John is going to start a store there.... Frank Merrill talked me into having a $55 machine last Monday much against my will. I gave my note for $19 and am allowed till next January to pay it in and no interest."
- Thursday, November 3, 1881
- "...Had a letter from John today ordering me to return the machine to Frank Merrill and have him refund the money. J.[ohn] won't be down this fall."
- Monday, December 26, 1881
- "Christmas is past! I've been dreading it for weeks because I had no money to make presents, and I felt like I ought to give Johny something if nobody else as he is from home [on his mission]."
- Wednesday, February 1, 1882
- "On Tues. Jan 17th the saddest event of my life befell us. The kitchen roof at Gentile Valley fell in and killed Rachel. How can I take a mother's place in caring for her children? Why is it oh Father, why is it, she so capable and willing must leave them?"
- Wednesday, May 31, 1882 [Gentile Valley, Idaho]
- "Friday the 19th of this month we all arrived here at Gentile Valley with the expectation of making a home here. We found the house very dirty, the new room unfinished & the bed bugs and mice on the rampage. John talks of building soon. I try to lay no plans for the future but to take everything that comes as cooly as I can. Sometimes I like it well here."
- December 25, 1883 [Gentile Valley]
- "After all this time of neglect, I once more attempt to write in my journal....The first day of May I had another baby boy. Have named him Raymond.... The 22d day of Aug. I again started for Salt Lake. I had been so unhappy, had been so sorely tried with home matters that I felt it utterly impossible to stay here. I remained in Salt Lake six weeks then came back to try again. John has been kinder and more like himself the most of the time, and that, of course, makes my lot much easier....I left Frankie in Salt Lake with mother when I was last down."
- Friday, January 4, 1884
- "John got back yesterday afternoon, bringing a girl (Maggie Higginson) to help me. John says he won't pay more than $1.50 per week, he'll do without first. I'm very much afraid she won't be willing to work for that....I feel half sick today, with no earthly reason that I can see."
- Saturday, January 12, 1884
- "... I am very much worried at getting no word for so long [from mother]. There must be something wrong....Last evening John and the boys went to a party. They wished me to go, but I have very little inclination to go to parties any more. Oh! if I only could hear from home!...I've quit wishing for summer to come."
- Wednesday, February 27, 1884
- "Have just been writing to mother and Frankie. Oh! I do want to see my boy so badly. I dreamed last night he was dead. I guess I'm somewhat blue. I am making an effort to get along without tea or coffee, but it isn't a very successful effort. I'm decidedly stupid of course."
- Thursday, March 27, 1884
- "...Susie and A.[rta] D. Young were here evening before last and asked us up there last evening. I felt so miserable, and the baby wasn't well so I tried to get John to go without me. The result was he wouldn't go after I did get in the notion of going. After we'd gone to bed they sent for us. Well I hope I'll never promise to go anywhere again so long as I'm situated as I am. Howard is so mean I feel like pounding him every day."
- Wednesday, May 7, 1884
- "...There has been trouble for me lately, as usual, about something I've said, and ever so much added to my remark."
- Friday, May 16, 1884
- "John started for Logan Wed. taking Henry with him and intending to bring back the others. Heaven deliver me!
- Sunday, June 8, 1884
- "Moses Thatcher and the Presidency of the Stake were here last week, and ordained John Bp. of this Ward on Wed. June 4th. His Councilors are Alma Hale and Arta D. Young. They wish him to take another wife, and I do too. I would be immensely pleased to share the honors. Evening. Have had another dickens of a row with John and he has ordered me off to the other house; with which order I gladly comply. He is calling my children brats yesterday seems to have put the old Nick into one."
- Sunday, June 22, 1884 [Logan, Utah]
- "I finished moving here last Thursday. Was very tired by the time I got here, and have an abundance of work on hand which I must make a strong effort to get done."
- Monday, July 28, 1884
- "Last Friday I was taken sick--thro' working harder than I was able and lost my baby. He was born Friday evening and lived about 8 hours. His father blessed and named him Wallace."
- Saturday, August 2, 1884
- "...I can't sit up yet to amount to anything; was too smart at first. I was so worried. No help only as neighbors accommodated us, and having just fairly commenced....Father gave me a can of peaches, for which I am truly grateful."
- Sunday, January 4, 1885
- "As today is a somewhat notable day in my history according to my way of looking at it I must make a note of the event. I was set apart to be the 1st, Counselor to Sr. Richards, President of the Relief Society of this ward. I have no experience whatever never having been connected with anything of this kind before, but I hope and pray the Lord will help to magnify my calling, and be an humble instrument in His hands of helping a little in the good Cause."
- Monday, March 23, 1885
- "...Haven't been able to attend one of the R.[elief] S.[ociety] meeting so far, and my physical condition will soon prevent my going in the future, so I'll be a grand success in this as in everything I've attempted. It would have been better to have never choose [sic] me....My own health has been poor this winter, but I have been able to take things easier than for years, so I manage to keep around. I am so thankful I live by myself tho' constantly dreading something being said regarding going back there. I honestly believe I would rather John would give me the bill he has several times offered than to live with them again."
- Sunday, April 12, 1885
- "...The subscription to the "News" (sent by mother as a birthday present) expires with her birthday. Oh! how much I wish I had the means to renew it. It has been such a comfort to me, I shall miss it so much. My health being poor I read and rest a good deal. How much I wish I could live in a country where I could have more fruit and vegetables, live more in accordance with the laws of life. It is exceedingly hard to try to keep the Word of Wisdom with nothing but bread, meat and potatoes, with a little dried fruit for a living. And the physical strength gone thro' overwork & unhappiness. I am very thankful indeed for the peace I have enjoyed since living here, but it might have been better sure as life."
- June 21, 1886-Logan
- "Two weeks ago yesterday I arrived here, "bag and baggage" to once more make my home here. John borrowed $2000 of Albert and mortgaged the old home property as security....[Albert] has given me permission to come here and make my home, rent a portion of the house if I choose and have the rent to help one along. I am very very thankful to Our Father and to him and pray that he and all pertaining to him may be blessed."
- Sunday, December 17, 1886
- "...I have had so much company since last writing and have been so behind with my work in consequence, that I can scarcely get any letter-writing done, let alone any in this."
- Sunday, January 2, 1887
- "Today has been a beautiful clear day, and very warm for the season of the year. It seems far more like spring than winter. We had a very pleasant Christmas, peaceful and happy. The little boys have been saving up their money for a long time to get mother a silk handkerchief....[Frank] purchased me a hairbrush--which I'd been wanting a long time but couldn't afford--and Roy got quite a lot of peanuts which they placed in my stocking when I didn't see....I went into debt a little in getting Christmas supplies and felt rather worried over it. Seth, seeing how I felt, sent me a note telling me not to worry, as Moses told them to let me have anything I wanted on acc't and he would see that it was all O.K."
- Sunday, January 9, 1887
- "...It was two months Thursday since John left here, and only left me $15 to get boots, shoes, yarn, clothing (in part) groceries etc. with for six of us."
- Sunday, February 27, 1887
- "One of the sunniest, quietest most peaceful days that could be imagined for the time of year! I am not feeling at all strong and how I do enjoy the peace and quiet of my home....God help me to magnify my calling acceptably to Him, and bless and protect my little ones from evil influences I earnestly pray."
- Sunday, March 6, 1887
- "...Wednesday evening I was set apart to preside over the Y. L. I. A. of this ward."
- Sunday, May 8, 1887
- "...Tues. John, Milt, Lula, Henry and Frank Thrikle came....I enjoyed John's visit very much he was so kind, and made all the provisions for our welfare he could. We've been married 10 1/2 years, and he bo't the first bedstead he ever furnished for me while down this time."
- Sunday, September 18, 1887
- "...I have had so many visitors this summer that I've felt perfectly worn out a good bit of the time. Some of them I was so very glad to see that I didn't mind the work."
Sarah Maria Davis Thatcher Diary, Typescript
"Mind Culture, and the Discipline of the Heart, Mind and Hand: an Address by Apostle Moses Thatcher"
Abraham Owen Smoot, Biographical Sketchs
Abraham Owen Journal
- This small journal contains three separate records dating from 1856 to about 1900. The first item is a diary (April 22-June 6, 1856) of Abraham Owen Smoot's journey to St. Louis, Missouri to purchase supplies for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The diary entries are short, lacking in much description and are written in a very poor hand. Following the diary are records of the Salt Lake City Mayor's Court, over which Abraham Owen Smoot presided, dating from November 1858 to June 1859. The records describe fines levied for public disturbances, drunkenness, and other minor crimes committed in Salt Lake City. The final item in the journal is a record of marriages, births and deaths in the Abraham Owen Smoot's family. Extracts from the journal follow:
- "I left My home In Company with Ira Eldridge on the 22d of April 1856 for St. Louis Mo to Purchase Surplies for the Church Stores and Bring them across the Plaines. We met at the mouth of Emagration Kanion with Some of Bethren in Rout for the States mostly mishonaries for Different Partes of the States & England on Mishions... We was there met By President Young & organized for our journey B Y Appointing Myself Captain E. T. Bentson Chaplin & Wm Miller Marshel of Gard...."
- "23 rd [April] Left our Incampment at 80cl Crossed the Big mountion successfully & Camped on East Kanion Creek Distance of Day 16 1/2 miles hear Judge Kinney joined our camp"
- "26th [April] Sat Afater [sic] Starting My Train in good order finding all right I let [left] it for Ft. Bridger in Companey with G A Smith E. T Bentson E. Snow & T L Haywood with Instructtions to the Train that They Should Camp 9 miles Short of Bridger on Spring Creek which was done I spent the night at the Ft with Louis B _____ [?]"
- "30th [April] Wed Traved 22 miles crossed Green Rivar.... & camped on the East Side of Green Rivar...pafsed Davinpart & his Compioney of apofstates at That place in Rout for The States"
- "4th [May] Sund Snowed all day wind Blew Like a tornado moved our camp at 4 Ocl PM 3 miles on Sweet-water wher we found good Shelter for our animiles & By Blankiting them & feeding them crackers flour meal & Bread we Saved all But one of the Jedges that Chilled to Death, under heavy Blankets"
- "7th [May] Wednesday Fa[i]r weath[er] heavy Snow to Pafs Through from 6 In to 3 ft. Deep about 20 men Traveld in front of the Temes all day Duble file to Brake Rodes..."
- "10th [May] Sat Travled 26 miles Pafsed Deviles gate & Indipendence Rock & Incamped on Greeswood Creek Heavy Raines & windes Through the night with Snow & hail Men & Beast suffered from the Severiety of the Storm"
- 13th [May] Tus. Travled 11 miles crofsed the Plate at Richard Bridge Paid $3.00 Per wagon & incamped 1 mile Below the Ford There was 60 Soldiers quarted ther under the Command of Capt Heath Left Tennent Dudley Accompaned us from their to Larimee"
- "19th [May] Mond Travled 4 miles & Lay By to wait for J. F. Kenney Judge of Utah who stoped at Ft. Larrimee on Busniss"
- "30 [May] Frid Resumed our Journey 17 miles to Ft Kerney where we abtained our Surplyes for Mo Rivar from the Sutler the Offereces of Government not Being authorrised to Sell us when we could abtain Else where"
- "2d [June] Monday Travled Down Litle Blew 14 miles..... Met about 60 Shionni Indians who had Robed 2 Trains of Califonians the Previous Evening of half of their Provisions Groseries & Camp Equppage But done them no Personal Injury we passed them without any Difaculty as we marched By our wagons with our guns on Shoulder Ready for Any amurgency...."
- "3rd [June]. Tus Travled 13 miles Crossed Big Blews & Lay ther for the day Ther Right of Br. Erastus Snow 1 wagon & 4 1/2 Tuns of Chruch frait Principley Books left in the Car[e] of Mr ______ [?]"
Margaret Thompson Smoot, Biographical Sketch
A short sketch of the life of Abraham Owen Smoot's first wife, Margaret Thompson McMeans. Included are several poems by Margaret and other members of the Smoot family; extracts from letters between Margaret and Abraham Owen Smoot (undated); a lengthy description (6 pages) of a quilt given to Margaret by the women of the 20th Ward Relief Society; and tributes to Margaret on her sixty-seventh birthday from her family and friends.
Diana Eldredge Smoot, Autobiographical Sketch
A short sketch concentrating mostly on her experiences crossing the plains in 1847.
Olive Smoot Bean, Reminiscences
Olive Bean's reminiscences are in the form of three love letters written to her family in 1933 and 1934. The letters describe some of her girlhood experiences and her courtship and marriage to James William Bean. Of particular interest are her descriptions of the life of a polygamous family at the time of the polygamy raids and the Manifesto.
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- This folder and the next fourteen folders contain eighty-four holograph letters between Olive Smoot Bean and her husband, James William Bean (Will), exchanged during his sixteen-month mission to Virginia and Colorado. The letters have been inter-filed chronologically in order to preserve the continuity of Olive and Will's "conversations." All of the letters are legibly written but transcribed copies of each can be found in Bk 1. Will Bean was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June of 1882. He left his wife, who was expecting a child in November, alone with their two year old daughter Diana (Nina). He also left a sweetheart, a young woman named Pauline (Polly) Hardy whom he hoped to marry as a plural wife upon his return. Will Bean faced the complex task of courting a second wife and cajoling Olive into accepting the arrangement--all through the mail. The evolution of the relationship between Olive, Will, and Polly is part of the charm of these letters. Most of Will's letters are addressed to both Olive and Polly, who often stayed at the Bean home to help with the children and household chores. At first, Olive willingly accepted Will's plan. But the long separation from her very much loved husband, the anxiety surrounding the birth of her fourth child (the first three children had died before reaching the age of two), and the strenuous hours of work to maintain their home in Provo, wore down Olive's patience and good nature. She became more resentful of Will's affection for Polly and finally openly expressed her discontent. Olive eventually accepted Polly as Will's second wife determined that the arrangement would not diminish her love for Will. Extracts from the letters follow:
- June 23, 1882-Ellen Dale, Virginia
- Dearest Olive
- "I improve the first opportunity of writing to you, since I landed in "Old Virginia"....Bro. Carlisle and myself [are assigned] to go to Tazewell County, where I expect to do my first missionary labor."
- July 2, 1882-Provo, Utah
- My Own Dear Husband
- "Your eagerly watched for letter came to hand yesterday, and I can assure you I was glad and happy to hear of your safe arrival at your destination, and your good health and spirits....Will, if I may judge from present appearances, you will not only come home to a wife and two children, if God is willing but a sweetheart who is willing to become a wife."
- July 4, 1882-Jeffersonville, Virginia
- Dearest Olive
- "Heaven only knows how I appreciate the blessing conferred upon me of a good, true, and faithful companion of this life, and also of eternity.... Oh! how I long to hear from home, and know that all that are so dear to me are well. Remember me to Polly, also, for I feel that it is our Fathers will, that we should all grow in the bonds of unity and love."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- July 12, 1882-Jeffersonville, Virginia
- Dear True and beloved Wife
- "...I say to you do not be cast down by anything, trust in Him, through the faith, love, and knowledge of the Gospel which you possess....As for Polly, I consider her almost one with you already; may your joys be shared together.... take care of yourself and dear little Nina and the child you bear; take light, open air exercise all you can such as short walks, light outdoors work etc."
- July 16, 1882-Provo City, Utah.
- Dearest, Best of Husbands
- "Again my heart was made glad on Thursday last by word from him who is so dear. Long and anxious is the time between the sweet and highly appreciated letters which come to hand....Since last I wrote, our little Nina has been seriously ill, but thank God I can say she is much better again.... My health is as good as usual under the circumstances but I am somewhat worn out with watching and care with the baby."
- July 23, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Dear, Dear Husband
- "...The baby's cough has been a great deal better the last week....In regard to myself, I am usually well, with the exception of being worn out with anxiety and excitement. There has been so little chance for rest or quiet...that I am a little unstrung.... No doubt you will be both surprised and pleased...that Pa has decided to move mother into the new brick house....I think Ma is somewhat disappointed to think it is not her, but for once Pa has got his eyes open to mothers awkward situation....Oh! if I could only have a good talk with you today, it would make me feel braver and better. Sometimes I get heartsick and weary when I think of the many long days ere I will have sight of your loved face. I feel as utterly lonely in a crowd without your presence, as I do when alone."
- July 30, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- My Own Dear Will,
- "...I am more than thankful to say we are better than we have been....Baby I consider quite well again, though she coughs a little....As for myself, I am allright [sic]....Mother is moved into the new house, and she is much more comfortable situated than before....The family all seem to be glad that Pa put her there, with the exceptions of Maggie and Zina....They manifest decided ill feeling in regard to the movement.... I will close, only begging you to write as often as possible, for you don't know what a comfort your letters are to me."
- July 30, 1992-Jeffersonville, Virginia
- My Dearest Ones at Home
- "...I am thankful to say I am enjoying better health just now, than I have for a long time, you would be astonished, the way I consume victuals which, so far have been very palatable....I am on my way to Russell County with Bro Samuel Porter.... some of the Elders express it, "it is a pretty hard County,"....I coincide with your resolution of staying at home, most heartily, but of course you will have to be governed by circumstances, but I think no other place will seem like home to you and Polly."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- August 6, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Dear Loved Will
- "...Polly is coming up this evening to stay at home, for it seems more like home with her here, and she prefers to stay here, than at her own home. Will, she comes nearer filling the vacany left by you than any one else. I get lonesome to see her when she has not been for a few days, and there is only one living human, that can bring more comfort to me, and that is him whom I love better than life....When I think of the long two years before us, ere I shall see you and receive your love and caresses my heart almost fails me, and yet I try to bear it patiently, for the sake of the religion which is so much to both of us."
- August 9, 1882-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My Darling, Loving, dear ones at home,
- "One thing, Dear Olive; I fear you have not been able to take care of yourself, as your condition properly demands....enjoy the associations of Dear Polly, and your friends; and take care of dear little Nina....Also, strive to throw off all sense of loneliness and anxiety...and be thankful that you have the privilege of making some sacrifice for the spread of the light and knowledge of the Gospel of truth....And now Dear Polly, a word for you....Now let me beg you, for your sake, for my sake, and of all whom we hold dear, do not work as hard and steadily as you have been doing... but, in place of so much hard work, let me advise you to choose something lighter...in order that you may associate more with those you love and who love you...and may your life become sweeter to you, as it does dearer to us, every day, so that you may look into the future with that joyous hope of realizing your highest anticipations in the holy bonds of unity and love....Share your joys and hopes with Olive and may your loving hearts knit together more closely every day...."
- August 13, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Dearest-Best loved Husband
- "...Day before yesterday-Nina broke out thick with the measles....It seems as though there is to be some thing the matter with her all the time to keep me in anxiety....At times I get heart sick and discouraged for there will be days at a time when no soul comes near me besides Polly, and she comes later and goes early. I almost feel as though the absent loved one and my God were all the friends I have.... There are but few of my. waking hours when you are not in my thoughts, and you nightly haunt my dreams. I dreamed the other night that you had returned, and the Sweetness of the sensations it produces can only be equaled by the reality."
- August 18, 1882-Cedar Bluff, Virginia
- Dearest loving wife.
- "...Methodist and Baptist revivals are very prevalent now in this section....We came by one the other day and as we approached we heard screaming and noise enough that one would naturally think there was a wholesale murder of women going on... while the preachers kept up a [round?] of monotonous singing....I soon got enough I assure you....I trust Dear Polly has become one of us in feelings, if not in actual fact....May Heaven bless her, for her love and kindness to you."
- August 20, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- Dear Loving Will
- "...I am happy to be able to state that all is well at home again. Nina soon got over the measles and is quite herself....I get fearfully lonesome here sometimes, and am unable to walk much on account of the swelled veins in my limbs; they almost cripple me at times....Oh! when I allow myself to think of it, the longing to see you and and have you with me until my trouble is over, is almost more than I can bear. I can easily imagine the temptations for wives to write for a release for their husbands, and yet, God save me from such weakness."
- August 27, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Dear, Dear, Husband
- "...I am as well contented as it is possible for me to be, in the absence of him who is my very life. Polly is as good and kind as ever, but I have not had so much of her company for two weeks.... I hardly like to stay entirely alone, for I have felt poorly of late, and if any thing should happen, I would want some one to go for help.... In regard to her writing to you [Polly] has promised to write nearly every time I have....But don't let her letters take the charm from mine, if they have had any, for no matter how she loves you, she can never give you any purer devotion than I daily feel for you."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- September 2, 1882-Jeffersonville, Virginia
- Dearest loved ones at home
- "...I pray that this may find you enjoying good health, and sweet contented happiness, that you may be prepared in every way for your trial which is now a little over two months distant....Dear Polly must always include herself as one of the loved ones at home, and in all my letters where anything can relate to all, that it is for all; for I realize that, in the bounds of union and love... becomes [sic] sweeter and stronger because each one enjoys the love and affection of all....I hope you, Dear Olive are not trying to do as much work as you usually do...for above all things take care of your health...[Olive] It will be better to have your Coal and wood bought early...watch your opportunity and get your wood chopped and put away.... Also commence fatting the pig by the first of Oct. and have it ready to kill by the fore part of Dec... You will please get some pretty good canton flannel and have me two suits made that is undershirts and drawers."
- September 3, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- My Own Dear Husband.
- Oh! Will, as I sit tonight alone in our little home and think of the pleasant Sunday evenings we have spent together in it, I lose control of my feelings and am obliged to shed tears of lonliness."
- September 11, 1882-Burkes Garden, Virginia
- Dearest, darling, sweetest, blessed, best of wives
- "...If you could only see the sin and iniquity, which presents itself all around us, you would wonder how anything is accomplished in preaching the Gospel. Right in my field of Labor in Russell Co. there is three men living in open adultry with women whom they keep right with their lawful wives....Oh! I am so thankful that dear dear Polly is so near and dear to you, and ever pray that you and those you love are as near and dear to her, which I feel assured they are. May you both be blessed with that joy and happiness...."
- September 12, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Dearest Husband,
- "...In regard to the wood and coal, and other things you mention, I will carry out your directions as far as possible. Coal is rather scarce now and there is a general demand for it....I have been burning coal this summer, on account of not being able to get my wood chopped. I am not able to chop more than it takes to kindle with...."
- September 20, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Dearest Most Devoted of Husbands
- "...The registration is over, and Provo shows a total of 944, so I suppose the "Liberals" will find they have none the best of us yet."
- September 26, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Dearly loved and loving Will
- "...I am feeling particularly depressed and lonesome today....Polly came up Sunday night, the first time for nearly four weeks...but has not come tonight, and I feel lonely and blue in consequence. I am tired too, for I cut apples yesterday, and done a big washing today, so if my letter is not cheering, you must consider the circumstances.... There are days when I feel like all had deserted me but God and my loved husband, and that I was forgotten, almost, by Him who is always a friend to the faithful....But Oh! my loved husband, do not cease to pray for me, that I may safely pass through the ordeal, and live, with our children and Polly, to welcome you home."
- September 26, 1882-Swords Creek, Virgina
- Dearest loving ones at Home
- "...I am very grateful for dear Polly's friendly note and the good wishes, and prayers therein expressed, and I trust and pray that the deeper feelings of her heart, which she half conceals and is half afraid to express, will develope into a reciprocation of the pure love which she knows that I have for her, ere I return. I will write to her if she desired it, yet I could say nothing more than what I have, in writing to the loved ones at home for I feel there is nothing that you desire to conceal from each other; and I pray that I may never, by word or action, do anything that I will be ashamed for both to know."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- October 2, 1882-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My Own dear loving wife & babe
- "...I trust that by the time this reaches you that dear Polly will be settled with you for the winter in our own little home, where true love health and happiness may reign supreme in the hearts of the loved ones there....I see by the papers, that things in the Church, and political affairs are getting very interesting just-now. It looks like the deep laid schemes of the Evil one, to bring trouble upon the Saints, are beginning to succeed to some extent, and they may be felt quite seriously before we are delivered from these persecutions."
- October 7, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Absent but Dearly loved Husband
- "...it is with a degree of pleasure that I report all at home well and hearty. You would be surprised to see how plump and rosy Nina has grown, and for myself, I have never felt as well since you left, as I have the last two weeks. I have been quite thin all summer, for me, but am gaining flesh now and feel quite well....And now I will tell you of a step I have taken, which I hardly know whether you will approve of or not. I have taken Ener Armstead to board."
- October 13, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- My own loved husband
- "...I have been feeling poorly for several days, caused I think, from a jar I got in a buggy going down home the other day. Yesterday I felt very seriously indesposed, and had Polly and mother both here to stay last night, but am feeling better today though still quite poorly....I am often lonesome, for there is hardly any one comes in and I am not able to walk much, so I am alone.... If anything should happen that I cannot write to you for awhile again, I will try to have Pollie write every week, to let you know how we are...."
- October 13, 1882-Jeffersonville, Virginia
- My own loved ones at home
- "...I have not had to use either [coffee or bacon], only when I was fit, on the whole I have been exceedingly blessed in everything except in bringing souls to a knowledge of the truth...I find it very difficult to teach people who can not, and will not read or think for themselves; they are like little children, who have imbibed errors...."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- October 20, 1882-Jeffersonville, Virginia
- Dearest, Loving Wife
- "...Well, I hope that long ere this reaches you, that dear Polly has come home to stay, and that you all are contented and happy, and as healthy as him, of whose life and being you are a part....I suppose you have seen the comet which is attracting the world so much; some of the people here are considerably worked up about it predicting war or some great calamity sure; but saints have nothing to fear...."
- October 22, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Dear, loved and loving husband
- "...I get lonely and dejected sometimes, for I am a great deal alone, not being able to go out much, and I find there are few of my "friends" that can spare any time to visit me at home. Oh! Will, you cannot realize how I miss your precious company. It seems as if there is nothing to live for in your absence, and time drags with me as it never did before....This may be the last letter I can write you for a time at least, but you will hear from some one else every week if possible...."
- October 29, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- My own own dear husband
- "...You say you dare hardly think of the time which must elapse ere we will meet again, and enjoy each other[s] carresses and affection. I am fully sympathetic with you in that respect, and when I think of it, the longing to see your dear dear face is almost more than I can bear. Now when the time of my trial is so close, I feel as though it would be almost impossible to go through it without your dear comforting presence....Tomorrow is the ratification meeting of the peoples Party here, and there are big preparations being made to have a grand affair. If the weather is favorable, I suppose there will be a big turnout....Oct 31st....We went to the ratification meeting last night,-Pollie and I, and it was splendid, I assure you. The Speakers were. F. S. Richards, John T. Caine, C. W. Penrose, A. O. Smoot, W. W. Cluff, and James Sharp, and each one seemed filled with enthusiasm and eloquence. The Payson, Lehi, and American Fork bands were present and discoursed splendid music through out the meeting and great applause and good will prevailed. It was something to make the so called "Liberals" ashamed of their small "doings"...."
- November 14, 1882-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My loving Wife Sweetheart and Babes
- "...Oh! I thank Him continually for blessing me with the love of those so good, so pure, and true, and that their love and lives are so closely knit together; and will be glad when I am worthy and can say wives, instead of wife and sweetheart, for you will see by Pres. Cannons remarks at Conference, that those who fullfill and keep the whole law, are the ones who will be enabled to endure the trials, and receive a proportionate reward."
- November 20, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Dearest best of husbands
- "...We named the baby a week ago yesterday and I hope you will not be dissapointed when I tell you we called her Harriet-Virginia, instead of Olive. My motive was, that she would be a reminder to us of your mission...."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- December 3, 1882-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My Dearest, Loving Wife and Babes
- "...I thank Him for His gracious blessings unto me in bestowing upon me such a noble wife...and also with the same gratitude I thank Him for granting my prayer for your safe delivery of a healthy vigorous child, and for your well being in my absence....And as you speak of not knowing how to live without Pollie, God bless her, my fervent and earnest prayer is that you may not have it to do, but that you may be the same and shared together. I would that we could prevail on her to share our home untill return, and then forever after. Although I have endeavored to make my love manifest to her, yet I do not think she ever dreamed of the depth and fervency of that love. Oh! I feel that you must not, can not be separated...."
- December 4, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- My own loving husband
- "...We most assuredly have two of the finest sweetest little girls in the world. Both of them are the pictures of health, and just as good as they can be. Pollie is always good and kind and the children love her as dearly as I do, and that is no little. I tell her I dread to think of the time when she will have to leave for we will miss her so...."
- December 19, 1882-Swords Creek, Virginia
- God bless my loving ones at home!
- "...You can not imagine the pleasure it gave me to get the Photographs of my dear ones there it seemed as though I was very near home again. I take great pleasure in [show]ing them to my friends here, many of whom, I suppose never saw a good picture before; and I suppose some of them entertain grave doubts when I tell them Pollie is a friend staying with my wife...."
- December 21, 1882-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My loved and loving Wife
- "...Heaven bless Polly for her untiring love and kindness in contributing so much towards your comfort and happiness; but she can not realize true happiness until she is united to one she truly loves, by Gods Holy Priesthood, and become a mother in Israel, as you are...."
- December 24, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- My own true Husband
- "...I have been down to your ma's and all is preparation for merry making and enjoyment, but I cannot enter into the spirit of it as well as I could if the dearest of husbands was with me. Every one seems eager for tomorrow, and expectant of a good time, but in all the excitement and pleasure I feel lonely and isolated, thinking constantly of the true heart absent from me, and which alone can make me happy...."
- December 26, 1882-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My blessed loved ones at home
- "...You say if I could only see them, you think I would be proud of them; God bless you my loving wife. He alone knows how thankful I am for them without seeing them, and the gratitude and love I have for the true wife and fond mother who bore them, and may the time be hastened when I shall be worthy, and may be privileged to say the same things of dear Polly, who has become so dear to all of us. I hope she will consent to stay with you until my return...."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- January 1, 1883-Swords Creek, Virginia
- God bless my own loving ones at home
- "...Polly must always remember she is indicated among the truly loved, and I trust the truly loving ones at home. Heavens riches blessings be upon you all according to your needs is ever the prayer of your devoted husband, lover, and father."
- January 8, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own dear loving husband
- "...There has been no less than seven or eight women died in childbed in the last two months and the old people are rapidly dropping off....It has cast a gloom over the whole community, so many deaths in rapid succession."
- January 9, 1883-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My loving Wife, Sweetheart, and Babes
- "...There were some shooting, cutting and killing scrapes going on in this vicinity during hollidays: a "nigger" killed a white man in Jeffersonville, he was put in jail then taken out and linched: at another place a party in this county tore down a womans house in the night, and next night she gathered more women and boys, and went and shot through the windows into the bedstead of the leader of the farmer party, scaring him pretty badly: Thus we see strife, division, and contention among the peoples who are fast ripening for destruction....If you could only see how these people live in these mountains, and at what disadvantage they do their work, you would not wonder at their ignorance or poverty...."
- January 15, 1883-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My true and Loving darling Wife
- "...Oh! I know that you are thankful that you are permitted to make these sacrifices for the Gospel's sake....Do not let it appear that you are depended upon any one for favors because your husband is on a mission....accept with true gratitude all kindness offered by our friends, but do not let them think you seek them....I know you gratefully appreciate "our little home" and the society of the Saints; yet if you could only contrast the condition of the women among the Latter Day Saints, with the women of this land, you would not wonder at the prophecy of Isiah, 4th chap, and you would pray for the day of fullfillment to be hastend: there are plenty of them here who know that their husbands are untrue and break their vows, and some who are threatened with their lives if they expose them....Oh! the wickedness and abominations that is abroad in the land; yet what a howl they raise against the purest and holiest principle of marriage ever given to man....I pray Our Heavenly Father to still watch over you all and grant that your joy in His work, and love for each other may continue to increase, until I am privileged to return and our joys be complete by her [Polly] being united with us in the bonds given to Latter Day Saints for their perfection here on earth."
- January 21, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own devoted husband
- "...[Polly's] folk think they cannot spare her all the time, but she always comes and helps me wash, and stays part of the time. She is always good and kind, and the children love her as well as I do, and that is very dearly, you may be sure....Your ma is in trouble again on account of the widow. Your father has started there again as bad as ever, and your mother thinks he will succeed. He seems to have no consideration for her feelings at all."
- January 29, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own dear absent husband
- "...You speak [in your last letter] of having just taken a bath, the first for six weeks; I can fancy how good you felt, and I, like you, often think of the loving embraces which nearly always followed a bath at home on Saturday night. And when I think of the long time which must elapse before we can again enjoy each others society my impatience is so great, that I feel as though I can hardly wait....Pollie has not been here but once since a week last Friday....She cannot come to stay here much more, for Singleton will not give her work, and she says she cannot afford to do nothing, so she helps her father. Of course I will not urge her to stay against her own inclination, but I miss her most awfully. You advise me in your letter of the 15th not to appear dependent upon those around me for favors in your absence. Will, my own dear husband, you do not know me if you think I will seek favors from any one. Our Father in Heaven knows that dependence on any one but you, is gall to me...."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- February 6, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own true husband
- "...I have been alone a good deal lately and am likely to be more so now for Nom and Emer are going to be married this week....I am going to try to get Cell to stay here nights, for I cannot bear to stay all alone with the children....I miss Pollie's company sadly."
- February 13, 1883-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My darling loving ones at home
- "...Olive, if Polly has to leave you, see that she is well rewarded for the kindness rendered us, and Polly, I sincerely hope you will arrange your labor so that you can be at our home part of the time, and do not work too hard, remember there is a bright future before you, and all the righteous in Israel.... Oh! you can not conceive of the love, which burns within my bosom for such priceless jewels....I fear that my father does not properly grasp the sacredness of the covenants which he is seeking to take upon himself; indeed it is difficult for the most prayerful and reflective minds to comprehend them; therefore I pray God to bless him with wisdom and the Holy Spirit to guide and control him in these matters, and cause him to realize, for every unnecessary pain inflicted in the bosom of our dear mother, he will be held strictly accountable; for I am satisfied these things can be brought about in peace, harmony and love if gone into with prayerful hearts."
- February 16, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- Dearest truest husband
- "...You only, Will, can imagine my horror, when night before last, at twelve o'clock, [Virginia] woke me up with the awful croup. I was alone at the time...and I sent for your...mother...and she came at once and we went to work with the baby, and before morning she was better....Oh! Will, you can better imagine than I can describe my feelings, when I heard our little darling give that awful barking cough. It fairly made my heart stand still, and in a moment, all that we have suffered and lost rushed through my mind and shook my courage and faith to the very foundation....When you are home once more and Pollie is numbered with us, which I most decidedly think she intends to be, I will fell [feel] as though my lot in life is as near complete happiness as possible on this earth...."
- February 26, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- "...Pollie has not been up for more than a week and I do not see much of her now, but I never saw her look so well as she does this winter. She is a great deal fleshier than I am now, for baby has taken the fat from me wonderfully. You say to reward her liberally for her kindness to me. I have done so, as far as my means, and her generosity would allow. And if she prized your love as I do, that would more than compensate her for all she has done. Oh! Will, I cannot help it, my old selfishness will intrude itself once in a while, and I sometimes wish that I could receive just one sweet word from you in which she had no thought or share. It seems so unequal to me, that I should love with the whole strength of my nature, and she so indifferently, and that she should receive the same devotion as I do, and some times I fear more, for I know the power she posseses to facinate men, which I never possessed nor cared to, only for you. I do not know how she feels, for she neither gives nor invites confidence, but I can arrive at my own conclusions, which are, that she is more favorable than heretofore and inteds to wait for you. But, Will, she never can, never will, give you the unbounded, unwavering love which I do. Saying this may bring your displeasure upon me but I cannot help it, it will come out. At times I feel almost wild for the want of some one to talk to, but as Pollie never says anything to me on that subject, I say nothing to her....You kindly advise me to pay my tithing. I have done so sometime since on every cent I have made, and I will repeat once for all, I pay my way as I go and ask favors of no one. I accept them some times when it would be churlish to refuse."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- March 5, 1883-Swords Creek, Virginia
- My loved and loving ones at home
- "...I am so thankful to see dear, dear Polly a sharer of your joys and in sympathy with your sorrows. To me, she has long since become a very part of yourself, and always included among my loved ones at home, if it were not so I would write to her separately, this of course she fully understands. Sometimes I wonder if it is not seeking too much for one so unworthy as I to desire to love and companionship of two loving and devoted women as you, but I earnestly hope and pray that I may yet be worthy...."
- March 18, 1883-New Garden, Virginia
- My own true and devoted wife
- "Today, I made my last attempt, I suppose, at preaching in Old Virginia, as I received a letter from Prest Morgan last Sunday; calling me back to Colorado to labor among the Saints who have gathered there. It is with some regret that I leave this State and county, as I have met with very kind treatment during all my stay here....I do not know how it will be in Col.: for I learn of Bro. Ball that there is dissatisfaction existing there among the people about the country, and also antagonism between them and the authorities there....You say, if Polly bore that love for me which you do, or rather, if she prized my love as you do, it would more than recompense her for all her kindness towards us. Oh! my darling, true, and noble wife. I know that: but inasmuch as we have no legal claim as yet for her love, and kindness, I advised you as I did.... I have been led to write as I have, in my former letters, and built up my hopes to the highest anticipations...for I had thought you had made full confidents of each other in regard to your future hopes...but, alas, I find such is not the case... Oh! Olive you judge me harshly, when you fear that I love her more, than that Godgiven treasure, who has shared the joys and sorrows of the few short years of our happy union, and who has reciprocated that love which fills my whole being, with her whole heart and being. Oh! my loving wife there is not enough women in this wide world to draw away a single thought of the pure love I bear for you....It is true that I do love her but unless that love is reciprocated would it be wise and prudent to always be reaching out after nothing?...You will readily, see, by studying your own nature, that this passion is cultivated and grows by reciprocation, and that love begets love: therefore, when I assert that I love her as yourself, you may know that it is in the hope and prayer that she will receive and reciprocate, and grow into that perfect love which only true husband and wife possess...."
- March 22, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own dear husband
- "...There is a little matter which I did not think of mentioning in regard to my letters. They come with Pa's mail through the Court House, and then mother sends them up to me. They are not addressed to Mrs Bean, and some of the men have been laughing at me about it. Wilson told me to quote him as saying it was something of a joke on me that you would not address me as Mrs. So to gratify the public, not me, you had perhaps better address them so in the future."
- April 2, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own devoted husband
- "...Dear Pollie is here tonight and I have read her your letter, for there is nothing I wish to keep from her. She has shared every loving letter with me, and I had no wish to keep this one from her to screen my own selfishness. She is the same loving creature as ever, and when I say I love her as tenderly as a sister, I speak only the truth. Only Our Heavonly Father knows how sincerely I wish for her happiness and yours and how earnestly I pray that I may do my duty by both of you as becomes a wife in Israel....I have not shown all I have felt because I have feared to lose your love, and if that should ever happen, I would pray to die, for all charm of life would be gone....And, Will, no woman ever gave in return a purer, deeper love than I bear you, with all my unworthiness. But I do not, can not, blame you when you say you love Pollie, for she possesses a facination for me, which no other woman I ever knew has. So do not think I oppose you in this essential principle of our holy religion, but remember I am a loving wife, with all the weaknesses of human nature."
- April 2, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My own dear loving wife
- "...I bid farewell to Russell Co. and the Saints there, one week ago last Friday....We arrived here yesterday about 3 P.M. all in pretty good spirits."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- April 16, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My own true loving wife
- "...I do not find as much division among the people [of Colorado] as I anticipated and the Saints are very kind, and very glad to have us among them, but they have much to learn, before they can fully sense, and live up to the principles of the Gospel....Bro. Glazier told you about my beard did he? Well I ought to have charged him not to for I had calculated to suprise somebody, but he has spoild it all; then it is-such a pretty one(?) it would be a shame to cut it off; it is a great wonder that the young ladies of the South have not all fallen, in love with me, if not with me, with my beard(?)....I am so glad that you and dear Pollie find time to associate together some, and that you still feel that interest and love for one another which makes you so dear to each other and doubly dear to him who loves you with his whole soul. I am pleased that you read that letter to her as well as all others, and I trust that she took it in its true meaning, and I earnestly pray that each sentiment may serve to strengthen her faith, confidence, and love for me, and that she will appreciate my desires and endeavors to promote her happiness. God bless you, my darling wife, for your earnest desire to do right in this pure and holy principle of our religion. God bless her, that she may appreciate your love and affection for her....when I see some of the ways of the world, and how indifferently they regard the marriage covenant, the gratitude I have, for the one noble wife I have, and the hope I have for another like her, knows no bounds."
- April 20, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own true loved husband
- "...Lib and Milton go on much the same as usual, and the public connect Miltons and Nettie Southworths names most emphatically and Lib denies it just as emphatically. But one thing is sure, Lib gives him a good scoring over quite often, and I notice Miss Southworth is the whip she lashes him with...."
- April 23, 1883-Ephraim, Colorado
- My Dearest loved and loving ones at home
- "...You intimate that there is some difficulty between Sister Libbie and Milton. I hope she is not objecting to him entering into those holy covenants, by which alone, they can be exalted to a fullness of Celestial Glory....In regard to addressing your letters, I am sorry to learn that my loving wife has the ordeal to go through of being made fun of by the neglect or ignorance of her husband in failing to consult my very precise and fastidious brethern of the Court House how I should address her....but as I have not started out in life to gratify public opinion...you will please get your mail through some other way, and relieve them of such an annoyance."
- April 29, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own true husband
- "...there is one thing that does wear on me fearfully, and that is staying alone of nights. Week after week I stay there alone only when Dottie comes, and she is no protection. Every slight noise sets me trembling and some nights [I] cannot sleep for fear. I was not so nervous until last winter when I got a great fright. Since then I do not know what comfort is when I am alone after dark."
- April 30, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My own true loving wife
- "...I was in hopes Libbie would begin to be happy herself, and there by make Milton and those around her happy. If she is not careful, she will realize when it is too late that she is fighting a principle which is intended to bestow upon her the greatest glory in our Fathers Kingdom."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- May 8, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own dear true loving husband
- "...We are not as well at home as I could wish to say we were. I had a severe attack of sickness on Saturday and Sunday and for about twenty four hours suffered the most excruciating pain which I ever bore....I suppose it was caused by over doing and then taking cold. I had done a very heavy washing, getting ready to clean house, and sprained my side, where it is weak, and baby was not well and I was broken of my rest, and all together it used me up....Our darling little Virgie has the measles at last, but they have been very light and she is doing well....but it seems if I could have your dear company I would be perfectly oblivious to all else in the world....9th Ma Smoot is very ill this morning with something like a paralytic stroke, and looks like she could not last long, but she may rally. She has been feeble some time."
- May 8, 1883-Conejos, Colorado
- My Blessed true and loving ones at home.
- "...I am also pained to learn that you, my darling wife, have had to endure so long the fear of staying at home alone of nights....I want you to hire some one you can trust, if possible, to stay with you: if you can not, you will have to make arrangements to stay with some of the folks, for it is much better that we run no more risk than possible in the rearing of our Heaven born treasures, our darling babes...."
- May 16, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My own true loving wife and loved ones at home.
- "...It seems as though, with all my cautioning, you will still over-work yourself, in your ambition to do more than is required; and again I implore you to be careful, and not undertake such heavy work alone.... Bro. Wm/Ball who was one of my companions in Va. got home on the thirteenth inst. having been gone only four months. I think the cause was timidity and lack of courage on the part of his wife, who was scared on account of the small pox [epidemic in Manassa County, Colorado]."
- May 19, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- "...Pollie hasn't come back yet and says she dont know when she will. She wrote to me, and said to remember her to you when I wrote. I suppose that is unnecessary as you will remember her any how.... Oh! how I long for the time when writing will be unnecessary, and we can talk unrestrained to each other. Some times my impatience is so great, that I can hardly content myself to wait. I feel as though I must do something to hasten the happy time. And yet God knows I am willing and desirous that you should fill an honourable mission, but time drags so heavily without you. And my anxiety is not for myself alone, but for our children. I need the aid of your cool head and kind heart, in rearing them for I feel incompetent to the task alone."
- May 25, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- Dear loving husband
- "...We are at mothers now and will stay awhile. She gave birth to a very fine son yesterday.... She was very sick, but is as comfortable as can be expected today....Ma Smoot is much better today, and if she takes no back set, will be able to be around soon, though I fear she will never talk plain again...."
- May 29, 1883-Alamosa, Colorado
- My Dearest Loving wife
- "... I am now in the largest R. R. town in this county, and, according to my way of thinking, it is about one more step to the "Lower Regions"? It is comprises [sic] the R. R. machine shops a few stores, saloons, and lumber tenement houses etc. and the influence felt here is not very agreeable to say the least of it...."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- June 6, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own true husband
- "...On top of the rest of the trouble Lou has taken sick and it is the conviction of the most of the family that she ought to be married. She has run a high race the last year, and Pa is nearly crazy sometimes with the trouble which surrounds him. Positive proof is wanting that Lou is an unvirtuous girl, but circumstantial evidence is very strong and leaves little room for doubt. She and Frank Newell should have been married months ago.... Oh! I am so tired of noise and confusion and yet my duty to mother keep me here...."
- June 8, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My own loving treasures at home.
- "...let me enjoin you to loose no time or patience in teaching them everything that will make them pure and holy....I trust that dear Polly is feeling well, and looking forward to the time we may enter into that holy covenant which will unite us all in the bonds of love, and by which, if we are faithful, we will be exacted in the highest glory of our Fathers Kingdom."
- June 13, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My dear and loving wife
- "...I am sorry indeed, to learn of the multiplied sickness and trouble which seems to crowd upon your kind and loving father and his family, in his old age. It is greatly to be regretted, that young women of Zion, those, who above all the rest of the world, should keep themselves free and unspotted from sin, should take such a course as that which you say Lou has done....Such things are too much like the world, and will never do for Saints....We had a most excellent Conference [in Manassa] and eight meetings while the brethren were here....Joseph F. [Smith] gave them stronger doctrine than they had been used to hearing in this country. Showing possibly, that if we expect to be followers of Our Great Redeemer, we must believe and practice the Celestial Law of Marriage. I think his remarks rather suprised both some of the Saints as well as those who were not Saints. For our community has the name of being Josephite Mormons, good citizens, who did not believe in polygamy."
- June 14, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My dear dear husband
- "...I am still at mothers, and we are all well, but things here are so unsettled that it keeps me on nettles. Ma is still very helpless; and I fear always will be, and things have come to a crisis in regard to Lue, and Pa has sent her home. He is going to move mother back into the big house to do for him and ma and those children....Mother does not feel very well about it, but quietly submits as she has always done. If it was only Pa and Ma she would feel perfectly willing, but she dreads having to live with those treacherous untruthful children.... I am glad you were able to take part in the May day festivities, and am perfectly willing you should dance with the "Queen," provided you don't let her steal your "heart." I want that all reserved for myself, and I suppose I must add Pollie, or you will think I am too selfish. I do not see her often, and when I do, have no chance to talk with her so I don't know how she feels."
- June 25, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My own true loving wife
- "...For our dear Mothers sake, I regret very much the troubles and change of affairs which has arisen in your fathers family; and I would think it the duty of some of the younger portion of the family immediately concerned to assume the care of those children. But inasmuch as it is your fathers wish, I pray that she may have courage and strength for all her duties....I wish it was so that dear Polly could stay with you more for I feel you would be consolation to each other which would dispel all feelings of loneliness. I wish that I could learn something of her hopes and feelings occasionally, but if she does not desire to make them known, I will have to abide her pleasure; for I believe that whatever the decision is, it will be for the best, for my wishes and desires in the matter, are as pure as love itself."
- June 27, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own devoted husband
- "...You say you are composed for another years missionary labor. Of course if it [is] required we are willing to obey, but the time seems long and dreary, and at times I get heart sick and discouraged but try to keep cheerful and contented.... Provo is building up wonderfully. You would scarcely recognize the Smoot block so great has been the change in the last year. Our friends seem to be getting rich or at least some them but I would care little for riches if I only could be happily settled at our own little home with my only treasures, my dear husband and precious children."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- July 15, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own true loving husband
- "...Mother is moved into the big house, and a hard row she has of it two. Ma is still very feeble and so childish that nothing in the world suits her. Mother is not strong and looks worse than I ever saw her, and has to work harder, and the anxiety of mind she under goes is harder than all. Will, in the seven weeks that I have been there, I have almost become skeptical. I feel at times like saying, curse the principle that brings one woman and her children in subjection to another that is no better and not half so good. Sometimes I think that I will never submit to polygamy for it seems that almost invariably a woman resigns all earthly happiness, for a hereafter we know nothing of. God knows I would rather die now than live the life my mother has lived and is living now. Pa seems to have no consideration for her at all; his only aim seems to be his an ma's conviece [sic]. If it is inevitable that you marry more wives, may God grant us wisdom that I may never subject another woman to what my mother has passed through for I think I would have it to answer for, in the hereafter if there be one."
- July 27, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My own true and loving Wife
- "...While I greatly deplore the toils, anxiety, and trouble which our dear mother has to undergo, yet more, far more do I deplore the condition of your mind, or the spirit which has given you two ideas, to which you gave expression in your loving letter. I refer to you charging the trials which our mother is undergoing, to the Principle she has entered into rather than to the weakness and short comings of humanity; and the doubt you express in regard to there being a hereafter, where all mankind will be rewarded according to their works....I think, after proper reflection, you will readily see you were a little hasty in [writing]: you denounce in strong terms the principle which brings one good woman and her family in subjection to the whims of another, and intimate that the sacred principles of plural marriage does this: but in my conception of these principles I do not find anything to warrant such a conclusion any farther than love, confidence, and family ties bind us to serve one another. But does it follow that because some, through the weakness of the flesh, have perverted these holy principles, and caused some to suffer, that we will abstain from taking upon ourselves those holy covenants....You say if it is inevitable that I take more wives, you pray for wisdom that you may be enabled to do right by her, or them...and whether I succeed or not, I earnestly join with you in the prayer that you may be endowed with such wisdom....I have become more than ever convinced of the truth of this principle since leaving home; and I believe firmly, that if I had obeyed the law of Celestial marriage, when the opportunity was offered, and lived in accordance therewith that our darling treasures who have gone before us would have been spared....I am let to write this way because while I am far away among strangers, endeavoring to convince them of the truth of the Everlasting Gospel... my own loved wife should express a doubt in relation to some of these things; and I think how can you pray with fervency to the Great Giver of all good for my support and preservation, while indulging in...such expressions, which, as I said before, I am confident you do not believe, but they might lead to something serious."
Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
- August 6, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My own true loving wife
- "...And now a word or two in regard to our darling babes. God bless them and keep them safe from every ill! Our happiness lies in their being rightly trained and started in life; so let me implore you to not be a slave to the whims of your children...but teach them kindly yet firmly that your word is law: be cautious how you make them promises...be careful not to deceive them...because any of these things are quickly imitated by the ever vigilant intellects of prattling babes.... always remembering that whatsoever we sow we will reap....vigilance and perseverance in the observance of these things, will spare us many a cup of bitter sorrow, and bring us a sure reward of happiness....Tell Polly, although I do not hear from her often, I always consider her among my treasures at home, and look forward with a joyous hope, when I can realize in deed and truth she is one of our little household; but it may be that I am anticipating too much."
- August 17, 1883-Ephraim, Colorado
- Ever faithful and beloved wife
- "...I have had no word from you since yours of the 28th July, and you can fully realize that I naturally get a little anxious when I go three weeks without hearing from you; but you spoke in your last about being so busy that you had no time to write: of course I wonder what you are doing and whether you have taken a big contract of sewing, keeping a boarding house, or gone to farming, in order to get rich before I get home(?)"
- August 18, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own true loving Will
- "...You hear from Pollie as often as I do for I very seldom see her any more. She was at meeting two weeks ago tomorrow and took Nina home to dinner with her and brought her back at Sunday School time. I haven't seen her since....Pa and Ma were going [to a wedding] but Ma wasnt so well again yesterday so she gave it up. She is very feeble and so childish it is impossible to do anything to suit her. I keep out of her way when I am there as much as possible, for mother puts up with so much from her that I can hardly treat her respectfully."
- August 27, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My own true and loving Olive
- "...You must not feel hard at Ma Smoot, but consider her age, her affliction, and childishness, and do her all the good you can, always remembering that we are liable to the same afflictions and errors: for love and charity covers many annoyances; and your Mother-God bless her-must consider these things...."
- August 29, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- My own faithful husband
- "...I am sorry to say I cannot report all as well as I could wish. Our baby has been ailing now more than a week. She had the Diarrhea and vomiting three days last week until she is reduced nearly one half in flesh....she is so fretful that I hardly get her out of my arms some days and I have had only one good nights rest in three weeks. So you will find excuses for me if I dont write often.... Oh! Will, my own dear true husband you cannot realize how, impatient I get some times for the blessed privilege of enjoying your society once more. And I long for your protection; night after night I stay here alone and suffer with fear; The town here has been fairly infested with tramps the last few weeks, and you can guess my sleep is not very refreshing. You would not believe what a nervous creature I have got to be."
- September 11, 1883-Manassa, Colorado
- My loving darling wife
- "...I am sorry to learn that you still suffer so much from fear and anxiety of nights, and that you do not get some one to stay with you: but if you can not, it should be all right any way, for you should endeavor to bring your mind in subjection to the mind and will of God, that when you bow down before Him at night and ask Him for His protection, you should lay down, in quiet sleep and trust all to Him...."
Bean Family Correspondence
- Six holograph letters from the Smoot and Bean families. Transcribed copies of each letter are also included in the folder.
- March 5, 1876-Southampton, England
- Owen Smoot to his sister Olive Smoot.
- November 23, 1876-Southampton, England
- Owen Smoot to Olive Smoot and Will Bean congratulating them on their marriage.
- August 28, 1882-Provo City, Utah
- Pauline Hardy to Will Bean. A short note with no mention of marriage.
- May 8, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- Dorothy Bean to her brother Will Bean.
- June 3, 1883-Spanish Fork, Utah
- Unknown author to Will Bean.
- July 1, 1883-Provo City, Utah
- H. C. Bean to Will Bean.
Bean Family Correspondence
Three letters. The first, dated April 19, 1933 is from Olive Smoot Bean to her family. A copy of this original typed letter can be found in Bk 1. The second letter was taped inside the box in which the correspondence of Olive and Will Bean was stored. It is dated June 28, 1854 and is from Ross Bean to his family. Finally is a xerox of a holograph letter from Elmer Bean to his family, dated October 21, 1872 describing his efforts to transcribe and copy the letters of his parents, Olive and Will Bean.
James William Bean and Olive Smoot Bean, Correspondence
This bound volume contains transcribed copies of the letters found in folders 10-24. The volume was compiled in 1972 for the Bean Family organization by Elmer Bean. Also included in the volume is an explanatory letter from Elmer, an index, and a family genealogy.