Wife number 19 by Ann Eliza Young, chapters 21-30
GOING THROUGH THE "ENDOWMENT-HOUSE." - I TAKE
THE MYSTERIOUS BATHS.
No Physic among the Saints. - I am taken Sick. - Heber C. Kimball recommends "Endowments." - How Brigham Murdered his little Granddaughter. - The Prophet wants a Doctor. - Being "administered" To. - I am Re-baptized. - Receive my Endowments. - How Saintly Sins are Washed Away. - Undignified Conduct of Elders. - The Order of Melchisedec. - How I was " Confirmed." - To become a Celestial Queen. - I go down to the Endowment-House. - The Mysterious Ceremonies Described. - The Veil at last Lifted. - The Secrets of the Endowment-House Exposed. - I enter the Bath. - Miss Snow Washes Me. - She Anoints Me All Over. - I dress in a Bed-gown. -The "Peculiar Garment" of the Saints. - What the Mormon Girls do about It. - "Going through" without a Husband. - "A Great Shouting for Sarah!"
When I was about sixteen years old, I was very ill, and my mother, her fears for the life and welfare of her only daughter always on her the alert, became very anxious, and , indeed, almost ill herself in her concern for me.
According to Mormon custom, I was "administered to" by the anointing and laying on of hands, but all to no avail. Bishop Taft, the one who had baptized me in my childhood, Isaac Groo, the Bishop's counsellor, and Elder Samuel Hardy laboured earnestly and long, and "wrestled in prayer" over me, all to no avail. I grew worse, rather than better, and my family feared I should fall into pulmonary consumption.
The idea of employing a regular physician seemed never to occur to any of them. Indeed, at that time it was considered the surest sign of a weakening of faith to resort to medical aid, and no Mormon in good standing would ever entertain the
suggestion for a moment. Latterly, however, a great deal of this nonsense has been done away with, under the subtle Gentile influence that is working throughout Utah, in Salt Lake City more especially, and some of the young Saints are actually studying for the medical profession. Brigham used to denounce physicians in the most wholesale manner in the Tabernacle, and declare that they should never
enter heaven, but that he would himself close the doors against them.
He was so bitter at that time that he would allow none of his family to employ medical aid in any emergency. A little granddaughter of his, a child of one of his daughters, took some poison that her mother had prepared to exterminate rats with. Brigham was sent for, and when he arrived he found a physician there, preparing to administer to the child in the usual manner. He rudely turned him out of doors, saving that he would care for the child himself; that no doctor should be allowed to worry her; and his care, as usual, consisted of the laying on of hands.- not a very energetic or efficacious mode
of treating a poisoning case. The agonized parents dared not interfere, and in a few moments their child died before their very eyes, in the most terrible
agony and distress, an innocent victim to the Prophet's egotism and bigotry.
That was Brigham Young well. Brigham Young ill is another person. In his variableness of opinion he reminds one very forcibly of the dignitary treated of in the somewhat profane epigram, -
" The devil was sick;
The devil a monk would be:
The devil got well;
The devil a monk was he."
Whenever he has any ailment, a doctor is summoned at once; and during his illness, a little over a year since, he employed at least half a dozen, keeping them in constant consultation, so great was his terror, and so absolute his horror of fatal consequences.
But when I was so ill, the Prophet was in the best of health, and was indulging in the bitterest invectives against physicians and all who employed them; and my mother, great and all-pervading as her affection was for me, and anxiously troubled as she was concerning my restoration to health, would have been shocked and grieved beyond measure, had any one proposed to her to seek medical advice concerning my condition. I was "in the hands of the Lord," and I was to be left there, for Him to do with me as He would.
When it was found that being "administered to" did no good in my case, Heber C. Kimball advised that I receive my Endowments, promising that then I should surely be fully restored to health. This was considered as a very great favor, since, outside of Brigham Young's and one or two other official families, no young persons are given their Endowments. My mother was overjoyed, and considered the bestowal of this honor a special interposition of Providence on my behalf. As a matter of course, I shared her feelings most fully. I had always been taught to anticipate the time when I should receive my Endowments as the most important epoch of my religious life, when I should be taken fully into the bosom of the church.
It was necessary, in order to receive these rites, that I should be re-baptized. Remembering my childish experience, and the terror which I suffered, I must confess that I dreaded, in my weakened state of health, that portion of the ceremony. and I grew quite nervous over it before the day arrived on which that rite was to be performed. I was reassured on one point, however. The pond experience was not to be repeated, but I was to be baptized in the Twelfth Ward font, which made it seem much less formidable, and divested it of half its terror.
On the day appointed I was taken to the Twelfth Ward meeting-house by my mother, where we met Isaac Groo, who was to baptize me. I was half frightened, and wholly awed. and very nervous; but my ardent desire for the reestablishment of my health gave me a sort of bravery and endurance, so that I was quite calm, and behaved myself very well, considering the unnaturally excited state which I was in.
The ordinance of baptism, as administered by the Mormons, does not differ very materially from that of the Baptist churches. It is always by immersion. Nothing else is ever considered efficacious. It must be a literal "watery burial," and a resurrection therefrom. The officiating elder, with his candidate for the rite, repairs to some place which has been previously appointed, and where there is a sufficient quantity of water to immerse the entire person. Not the least portion of the body must be left above the purifying fluid, else it could not be termed a "perfect burial with Christ." In the early days it was necessary to perform this ordinance in the open air, in some river or pond; but lately fonts have been built in most ward meeting-houses, so that it can all be done
under cover, and there is less danger of suffering ill results from exposure.
The elder officiating takes the candidate by the hand and leads him - or her, as the case may be - down into the water, until a sufficient depth is attained; he then raises his hand, and, calling the person by name, commences the ceremony as follows "Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen." He then plunges the candidate under the water, bringing him forth into the newness of life, and fully prepared to enter upon a series of ordinances, all of which are attended with covenants calculated to bind the person more strongly to the church.
Following the baptism comes the confirmation, or the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. It is usually administered directly after the first rite, and at the same place; but I was so ill and weak that I was taken directly home, and the elders came there to confirm me. They were Bishop Taft and Isaac Groo, and they certainly gave me every cause to be thankful to them for the prodigality of their promises. I certainly never have had occasion to be grateful on account of their fulfillment.
In the Church of Latter-Day Saints the "Melchisedec" and "Aaronic" priesthood are authorized to perform the ordinance of baptism, but the latter has no power to administer in spiritual things. Hence only a priest after the holy order of the Son of God or the order of Melchisedec, can perform the ordinance of confirmation, or laying on of hands for imparting the Holy Ghost, which is to lead the newborn Saint into all truth, and teach him the things to come; thus protect him from all falsehood and imposition, and placing him in the most perfect state of progression which, if real, would be a state of the highest felicity and most assured salvation.
Two or three elders lay their hands upon the head of the person to be confirmed, one of whom acts as a mouthpiece for the rest, and pronounces the blessings and promises, generally exhausting his full list of mercies upon him whom they are receiving into full Sainthood. There are two essentials in this ordinance which are never omitted - "I confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," and, "I also confer upon you the Gift of the Holy Ghost."
Oftentimes the elder becomes so thoroughly filled with inspiration that he cannot cease his blessing until he has sealed the young Saint up to eternal life, with a perfect assurance that he shall "inherit all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with a fullness of the holy priesthood after the order of an endless life;" thus placing him beyond the possibility of falling from grace or missing the celestial gate: though he may wander from the fold and become bewildered in fogs and darkness, yet in the consummation of his mission to earth he will find his way back to the fold of Christ; and as it is supposed that the Word of God, spoken by the mouth of His servant, cannot fail, will inherit thrones, principalities, and dominions, be made King and Priest unto God and His Christ, and reign upon the earth.
The person, having reached this high plane in the kingdom of God on the earth is considered properly prepared to receive the higher and holier ordinances, which are to be kept entirely secret, and are accompanied by the strongest and most binding covenants, which cannot be broken without incurring the severest penalties.
I was promised everything that I could wish; indeed, I was quite overcome by the magnitude and number of special blessings that was promised me. First of all, as that was my most earnest desire, I was to have perfect health bestowed upon me at once. I was to go on "from grace to glory," in full saintship, and my last days were to be better than my first. I am glad to say that this portion of the blessing promises to be fulfilled, although by no means in the manner that was intended when the blessing was bestowed. I, of course, could not be a King or Priest, but I should be a "Celestial Queen," with all the glory, emoluments, and perquisites which attend that very exalted, but somewhat mythical, position. Having thus settled my future to their evident satisfaction, they left me fully prepared to receive my Endowments.
I was now all eagerness to receive my Endowments. If the first step could have so sudden and marked an effect on me, what would not the greatest, the most important step of all, do for me! My faith in it and its virtues was almost sublime. I could scarcely wait for the next day to come - the day that had been appointed for me to enter into the full fellowship of the church, the full glory of the Lord, and the eternal heirship to heavenly things.
The morning came, however, and, with a heart filled with hopeful anticipation, I took my way to the Endowment-House [carrying a lunch and my Temple-robes, which had to be specially prepared for this occasion], where, in the absence of a regular Temple, the rites were performed. I expected something solemn and awful; something elevating to the spirit, and ennobling to the mind. How I was disappointed, everyone who has entered the Endowment-House with feelings similar to my own will understand. In place of the awe which I expected to find the rites endowed with, they were ridiculous and farcical in the extreme.
I have heard persons speak of the solemnity of their feelings on the occasion of taking their Endowments, but, with all respect to their truthfulness, I am always incredulous in the extreme. I think either their imagination must have got the better of their common sense, or they could have had very little of the latter commodity to begin with, else they would have seen through the very thin tissue of absurdities which they are obliged to witness with unmoved features, for to laugh in the Endowment-House would be the most fearful sacrilege. For my own part, I was in a most uncomfortable frame of mind. I
wanted to laugh; everything seemed so ridiculous; and yet all the while I was conscience-stricken at my own levity. I thought it must be my own wicked heart, and not the rites themselves, and I was constantly upbraiding myself for lack of spiritual grace; and yet I could not alter my feelings in the least. The only thing that in any degree overcame my disposition to laugh, was the horror at the oaths which I was obliged to take. They were fairly blood-curdling, they were so awful; and even now a shudder runs through my whole frame as I recall them.
The Endowment rites are nothing more nor less than a drama, founded partially upon the Bible, but more upon Milton's Paradise Lost. It represents the Creation, the Fail, and the final Restoration of Man to his first glory. To speak in stage parlance, the "different lines of business" are taken by the leaders of the church, who always sustain the same characters. The following is a list of the dramatis personæ at the time that I took my Endowments: -
ELOHIM, or Head God, Brigham Young.
JEHOVAH, Heber C. Kimball.
JESUS, Daniel H. Wells.
MICHAEL, or Adam, W. C. Staines.
SATAN, W. W. Phelps.
APOSTLE PETER, Orson Pratt.
APOSTLE JAMES, John Taylor.
APOSTLE JOHN, Erastus Snow.
WASHER, Dr. Sprague.
CLERK, David O. Calder.
EVE, Miss Eliza R. Snow.
TIMOTHY BROADBRIM, a Quaker, Wilfred Woodruff.
DEACON SMITH, Orson Hyde.
PARSON PEABODY, a Presbyterian, Franklin D. Richards.
ELDER SMOOTH-TONGUE, a Baptist, Phineas H. Young.
FATHER BONIFACE, a Catholic George A. Smith
When I entered the Endowment-House, I was made, first of all, to take off my shoes, for the place was too holy to be desecrated by outside dust. Having done this, I gave my name and age, the names of my parents, and date of baptism and confirmation, to the officiating clerk, who entered them all in a large book. Several other persons of both sexes were present, and after all had been similarly catechized, and their answers noted, we were asked to produce our bottles of oil, - for we had been instructed, among other things, to bring with us a bottle of the best olive-oil: these were taken from us; our
bundles of clothing were handed to us again, and we were told to "pass on."
We entered a large bath-room, which was separated in the middle by a heavy curtain, for the purpose of dividing the men from the women. The men passed to one side of the curtain, the women to the other. In our room were several large tubs filled with water, and Miss Eliza R. Snow and two or three other women were in attendance. I was received by Miss Snow, who placed me in one of the tubs, and washed me from my head to my feet, repeating certain formulæ to the effect that I was washed clean from the blood of this generation, and if I remained firm in the faith, should never be harmed by any of the ills that beset the world, and which soon were to be showered in terrible profusion upon the earth. Plagues, pestilence and famine should cover the earth, and be let loose in its every corner, but I should be passed by unscathed, if I was true to my religion - the only revealed religion of God. After I had been wiped dry, she proceeded to anoint me with olive-oil. As she did so, she repeated, solemnly, -
"Sister, I anoint your head, that it may be prepared for that crown of glory awaiting you as a faithful Saint, and the fruitful wife of a priest of the Lord; your forehead, that your brain may be quick of discernment; your eves, that they may be quick to perceive the truth, and to avoid the snares of the enemy; your ears, that they may be quick to hear the word of the Lord; your mouth, that you may with wisdom speak the words of eternal life, and show forth the praise of the immortal gods; your tongue, to pronounce the true name which will admit you hereafter behind the veil, and by which you will be known in the celestial kingdom. I anoint your arms to labor in the cause of righteousness, and your hands to be strong in building up the kingdom of God by all manner of profitable works. I anoint your breasts, that you may prove a fruitful vine to nourish a strong race of swift witnesses, earnest in the defence of Zion; your body, to present it an acceptable tabernacle when you come to pass behind the veil; your loins, that you may bring forth a numerous race to crown you with eternal glory, and strengthen the heavenly kingdom of your husband, your master, and crown in the Lord. I anoint your knees, on which to prostrate yourself, and humbly receive the truth from God's holy priesthood; your feet, to run swiftly in the ways of righteousness, and stand firm upon the appointed places. And now I pronounce your body an acceptable temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit."
As may be imagined, I was literally besmeared with oil from my head to my feet. I breathed it, smelled it, tasted it; it ran into my eves, and made them smart fearfully, and dripped in any but an agreeable manner from my hair. I was fairly saturated with it; was cognizant of nothing else; and I was so nauseated from it that I could scared go on with the ceremonies. I got a distaste for it then that I have never got over, and to this day even the sight of it makes me ill.
After the washing and anointing, I was given a garment which I was told to put on, and charged, after once assuming it, that I must never leave it off. When it became necessary to change, I must take off one side, then put the fresh one in its place; then I could drop the soiled one altogether, and get the fresh one on as soon as possible. So long as I wore it, I was free from danger, and even from death. Disease should not assail me, and neither shot nor the assassin's knife should have power to harm me; all should be turned one side. Every good Mormon wears this garment, and is very superstitious about allowing it off. It is said that Smith never would have been killed had it not been that he left off this charmed garment when he went to Carthage. Had he
allowed it to remain on, the balls of the murderers would have been utterly powerless to harm him.
There is nothing elegant about this garment; on the contrary, it is quite ugly, and the young Saints who assume it dislike it terribly for its plainness and awkwardness. In shape, it is like a child's sleeping-robe, with the waist and drawers combined, and reaches from the neck to the feet. It is of white, bleached muslin, and untrimmed. Latterly, some of the younger daughters of Brigham Young, and other young ladies of the Mormon bon ton, have instituted a reform, and, to the horror of the older ones, - who are not given over to the "pomps and vanities," &c.,- have had their garments cut shorter, low in the neck, and short- sleeved, and elaborately trimmed. Of course the majority of the people, who have known of this innovation, have been terribly
scandalized; but all to no avail. Mormon girls, like girls of the world, object to making guys of themselves; and neither "counsel" nor ridicule can affect them when once their minds are made up on the subject of dress. They will suffer for that what they will not for their religion.
Mine, of course, was made after the true orthodox fashion. Over it I wore a white night-gown and skirt, and on my feet white stockings and white linen shoes. My Temple robe was the last to be donned. It is a long, loose, flowing robe of homespun linen, falling to the ankle, and at the top plaited into a band, which passes over the right shoulder, and is fastened under the left arm; it was girdled by a white linen belt: the cap, which accompanies it, is a simple square of linen, or muslin, gathered in one corner to fit the head; the remainder falls down over the back of the head, like a veil.
While all this washing and robing was going on on one side of the curtain, the same things were being done on the opposite side. I suppose we could hear the murmur of voices and the splash of water; but everything was quiet and subdued, and the most perfect order reigned.
When we were all ready, a name was secretly given to each one of us, which was the name by which we were to be known in the celestial world, and which was to be told only to the man who should take us through the veil. If a woman was married, her husband took her through; if not, some brother kindly performed the office for her, and he was rewarded for his kindness by having the young Saint's celestial name whispered confidingly in his ear. I was not married; so Elder Samuel Richards took me through, and I told him my name,- and, by the way, he was the only person who ever knew it until after my apostasy, as I never told it to either of my husbands.
It is believed that as the husband has to "resurrect" his wife by her Endowment name, so it is rather necessary that he should know it. Consequently, when he is sealed to her, she is permitted to whisper her name to him through the veil, and after that it must be spoken no more between them until he shall call her by it on the morning of the final resurrection. If the Mormon doctrine were true, there would be a mighty shouting for "Sarah" at that time, as every person whose name I have heard was always called the same. It was the name that was given me, and I have known many others who received it. It certainly will make the husband's work at that time much lighter, since he need call but once to summon his entire family.
WE CARRY ON THE ENDOWMENT DRAMA. - I AM FULLY
In the Endowment-House. - How the "Kings and Priests" appeared in their Shirts. - The Poor Fellows "feel Bad!" - The "Gods" hold a Conversazione. - Michael is sent
down to Earth. - The "Tree of Life." - how Raisins grew instead of Apples. - Not good to be Alone. - The Rib abstracted and little Eve made. - The Devil dressed in
"Tights." - John D. Lee once a Devil. - Eve's Flirtation. - She eats Forbidden Fruit. - Tempts her Husband. - Fig-leaves come into Fashion. - We hide in Holes and Corners. - The Devil is Cursed and we are Lectured. - The Second Degree. - Story of a Pugnacious Woman. -The Terrible Oaths of the Endowment-House. - Pains and Penalties. - Signs and Grips. - "Good-bye!" - Brother Heber gives me Advice.
After our names had been given us, Miss Snow announced that we were ready, in answer to a question from the other side of the curtain. We were arranged in a row facing it, when it was suddenly withdrawn, and we were standing face to face with the men. The sight that met our eyes was very funny, and I had all I could do to keep my features decently straight. I looked out from under my eyelids, for I did not dare give a good, - square, honest look; it would have been altogether too much for my gravity; but from my stolen looks I found that the men, over their new garment of protection,
wore a shirt only. On their feet were white socks and white linen shoes. The cap was of white linen, in shape exactly like those worn by stonemasons, and tied by a knot in front. They were certainly no more beautiful in appearance than we
women, and, as is generally the case in embarrassing circumstances, were much less at their ease.
We were all conducted into another room, where we were seated opposite each other. We remained quiet for a few moments, getting used to the situation and our clothes, I suppose. Suddenly the silence was broken by voices in conversation. The persons who were carrying it on were concealed ; but by listening intently we discovered that it was
Elohirn in conversation with Jehovah. and he was describing the creation of the world. His description was taken mainly from the first chapter of Genesis. The Gods then decide to visit the earth and see the works of their hands. This they do. and seem quite satisfied with the results of their labors but they decide that it is necessary to place a ruler over the brute creation, since they must be governed and brought under the control of a superior order of intelligence.
The Gods continue their discussions, and Michael the Archangel is called and given control of "the earth and all that therein is." The brute creation is to be subject to him; the fruits of the earth shall yield abundantly for his sustenance. Of all these he is free to partake, with one single exception he shall not eat of the fruit of a tree which stands in the middle of the garden.
This tree is represented by a small evergreen, on the branches of which are tied apples, raisins, oranges, or bunches of grapes, as may happen. The fruit on the occasion of my passing through was raisins.
Michael - or Adam, as he is now called - finds his new abode rather a lonesome place, in spite of its beauty; and even the knowledge of his power over all about him does not prevent him from longing for companionship. The Gods, too, decide that it is not good for him to be alone; and as there is nothing on earth that is sufficiently near an equality with him to be admitted to an intimate friendship, it is determined to give him a companion created specially for him. A profound slumber falls upon him, and we were all told at that time to feign sleep also, which we did. Elohim and Jehovah then make their first visible appearance, and go through the form of taking a rib from Adam's side, and on the instant appears Eve, in the person of Miss Eliza R. Snow.
At this point we were told to wake up, and instantly every Adam present appropriated to himself an Eve, and, led by the chief Adam and his bride, we all marched about, looking at our new kingdom and marking all its beauties. It was then that Adam became separated from Eve; and wandered off by him self, very much after the fashion of husbands of the present day; and while he was away, Satan entered and commenced a
desperate flirtation with the coy and of Eden is represented by guileless Eve. The Garden painted scenery and furnishings.
It requires some imagination to invest this place with all the beauty that is supposed to have belonged to the original garden; but as it is the best Eden that can be provided, we, like all the rest of the Saints, were obliged to be content with it. Satan was for many years represented by W. W. Phelps, who has recently died. - Much to his own surprise and great chagrin, he saw his end approaching; for he had always claimed to be immortal, and on a seal-ring which he wore while in the Endowment-House was inscribed the blasphemous legend, -
"The Lord and I
Shall never die."
I do not know who has succeeded him; but I know that in the Temple at Nauvoo, John D. Lee used frequently to assume the character, and I have heard old Mormons say that he made a first-rate devil. I think no one who has watched his career will doubt that. Since, however, Brigham has recently cut him off from the church, it is hardly probable that he will ever again be able to make his appearance in his old character at the Endowment-House.
Satan was dressed in a tight-fitting suit of black, slashed with pink, pointed shoes, helmet, and a hideous mask. His costume, with tile exception of the mask, resembled very closely the dress always worn by the stage Mephistopheles. I think he must have had different costumes, since it has been described several times, and the descriptions have varied in every case.
Eve seemed decidedly pleased with his attentions, and prattled on to him in artless gaiety. He, in turn, showed her the tree of the forbidden fruit, and tempted her to taste it. She did taste it, and finding it pleasant, offered it to Adam, who, by the time the mischief was done, returned to look after his wife. It required but little coaxing on her part to induce him to take the fruit, and he also found it agreeable. At this juncture they seemed to discover their condition of supposed nudity, and instantly they produced white linen aprons, with fig-leaves stitched upon them, and proceeded to put them on. All the rest of us did the same.
The pattern of this apron, by the way, was said to have been given to Joseph Smith by revelation. It was a square of white linen, measuring about eighteen inches, on which were to be sewn nine fig-leaves cut from green silk. Those who first took their Endowments had their aprons made after this model; but there were afterwards many inventions sought out for improving the Lord's pattern, one of which was to paint them. Over these painted aprons fancy fairly ran riot. The borders would be whatever color the person making them might choose, and were red, yellow, or blue, as the caprice dictated, with white centres filled with green leaves. The shape of these leaves was as varied as the people who wore the aprons. Some resembled the oak leaf, some the fig, a part the burdock, and others were like nothing else that ever was seen under the sun. A company going through their Endowments thirty years since, presented, it is said, a decidedly fantastic appearance. After trying every conceivable mode of making the aprons, they have settled down to the revealed pattern as the best every way.
1. Listening to Elohim and Jehovah.
2. Appropriating an Eve.
3. Satan tempting Eve.
4. Tasting the forbidden fruit.
5. In the Garden of Eden.
6. Putting on the fig leaf.
7. Hiding from Elohim.
8. Satan before Elohim
9. Cursed and driven from the Garden of Eden.
After the aprons were on, the voice of Elohim was heard calling Adam but he was afraid, and hid himself with Eve. All the rest of us were supposed to follow their example, and there was a most undignified scurrying behind sofas, chairs, or any other article of furniture that was convenient. It was like nothing so much as the old game of "hide-and- seek," and it was a rare piece of fun to see men and women scudding in every direction about the room. It was like a good old-fashioned frolic to me, and I actually laughed aloud, much to my discomfiture and Heber Kimball's horror, who reproved me afterwards, and told me it was very wrong. "For," said he, "these things are sacred, and make me feel as solemn as the grave, and I can scarce refrain from shedding tears every time I see them." -
I was properly penitent, but I know I thought at the time how very easily Brother Heber was moved.
The devil was then cursed and he fell upon his hands and knees, and wriggled and hissed in as snake-like a manner as possible; we were all brought out from our several hiding-places, the curse was pronounced upon us, which doomed us to leave the beautiful garden, and earn our bread by the sweat of our brows. We were then driven into another room, which was called the world; and then we had taken our "First Degree."
We found the world a very bewildering place. We were drawn hither and thither, and tossed about by every conflicting wave of circumstance. Our friend, the devil, did not leave, but was our Constant visitor, urging us to new deeds of sin. We were waited upon by representatives of the different sects, each descanting upon his peculiar plan of salvation, and its advantage over all the rest. The Quaker advocated his non-resistance doctrine. The Methodist gave a graphic, but not very refined description of the future torments of those who did not take his road to heaven. The Presbyterian gave his belief in foreordination and election in the very terse lines, -
"You can if you can't;
If you will you won't;
You'll be damned if you do;
You'll be damned if you don't."
The Baptist expatiated upon the virtues of immersion and close communion, and insisted upon predestination as the principal basis of religion; the Catholic called for observances of fasts and prayers to the Virgin Mary. Each grew more clamorous in recommending his special creed, and the discussion waxed fast and furious, even the peaceful Quaker shouting his "good will to men" with a red face, an angry voice, and excited manner, when Satan entered, filled with delight at the disturbance, and urging them on to renewed contention.
Then the apostles began to visit the earth, and comfort its afflicted tenants with plans of the true, revealed religion that was to be their salvation. They put the devil to flight, and the representatives of the "false religions" cowered and shrank away before the truth which they brought.
We were then given certain signs, pass-words, and grips, arranged in a circle, and told to kneel; the women were also required to cover their faces with their veils; then we were bidden to raise our right hands heavenward, and take the oath of implicit obedience and inviolable secrecy. The women promised entire subjection to their husbands will; the men that they would take no woman as a wife without the express permission of the priesthood. We all promised that we would never question the commands of our authorities in the church, but would grant them instant obedience; we swore also to entertain an everlasting enmity to the United States government, and to disregard its laws so far as possible; we swore that we would use every exertion to avenge the death of our Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum upon the Gentile race, by whose means they were brought to their unhappy fate, and to teach our children to foster this spirit of revenge also; and last of all, we swore never to reveal the mysteries of the Endowment House.
The breaking of this latter oath was to be followed by the most horrible penalties; torture of the most excruciating kind was to be inflicted upon anyone who should disregard this oath - his bowels should be torn from him while he was yet alive; his throat should then be cut from ear to ear; his heart and his tongue cut out; and in the world to come he should inherit eternal damnation. There should be, nor could be, no chance of salvation for him.
These promised penalties are by no means mere forms of words. given me rely to add impressiveness to the ceremony. The "Blood-Atonement" shows that they are carried out, and hundreds of cases could be cited in addition to those already given, to prove that the Endowment-House penalties are by no means dead letters in the Mormon Church law. The cutting of every Gentile and apostate throat, and the "sending to hell across lots," that have been so openly and emphatically urged from the stand by Brigham Young and others, is only a public expression of the mysteries of the Endowment oaths.
Brother Heber endeavored to add weight and emphasis to this horrible rite by delivering a discourse to us on the duty of keeping quiet, even to our husbands or wives, on the subject; from the time we left the room we were in, the transactions therein must not be mentioned, or even hinted at, to anyone. He then entered upon a dissertation of the glories of the Celestial Kingdom, and fairly outdid himself in coarseness and vulgarity. It was then announced to us that the talk finished the ceremony of the " Second Degree," and we were told to enter the next room, for the purpose of having the "Third Degree" of the Order of Melchiscdec Priesthood conferred upon us.
In this room a portion of the scenes of the last were repeated: the devil encouraged the ministers of the conflicting denominations to visit the new inhabitants of earth, and urge their religions on them once more. The apostles stop the proposed visit, and explain still further the doctrines of the true faith they organize a new church, which is, of course, the "Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints." Our Temple robes were changed; resting afterwards upon the left shoulder and fastening under the right arm - which was a sign that we were now received into the true church, and subject to the
will of its leaders. Another grip was taught to us, and we then received the "Third Degree," and were ready to "pass through the veil."
The men, of course, went through first, and they were permitted then to take us women through.
The room we were in was divided by a muslin partition, in which was a door; in this door was a hole just large enough to pass the hand through, and over this hole was a curtain of muslin. The persons who were behind this muslin partition - which was supposed to represent the veil - were invisible to us, although they could see us distinctly.
A man approached the door as if seeking admittance, and the Apostle Peter, appearing at the opening, asked who was there and what was wanted. He was told that some one wished to enter. The applicant was told to come near, and, as he approached, hands came through the opening in the door, and cut a mysterious mark on each breast of the man's garment, another over the abdomen, still another over the right knee. The garments of all the applicants were treated in the same mysterious manner, and the women were told to copy them in their own when they went home. It was also commanded them that whenever other garments were made, these marks must be placed on them.
After the garments had been cut, the applicant for admission gave the last grip which had been taught them, through the slit in the partition, and whispered his or her new name to those behind who were waiting to hear it, and was then permitted to go "behind the veil." The women were then taken through, the married ones by their husbands; I, as I have before said, by Elder Samuel Richards, brother of Apostle Franklin D. Richards, of Hand-Cart memory. Several remained to be sealed, but as I had not that ceremony to go through, I was permitted to go away.
I was perfectly exhausted by what I had passed through, and quite dissatisfied. It was so different from what I expected that I was saddened and disappointed by it all. My feelings of the morning had undergone a most radical change. I was no longer buoyed up by the enthusiasm of religious fervor; that had died away, and I was as hopeless and apathetic as I had before been eager and buoyant.
I was too tired to go home at once; so I went to Heber Kimball's to rest. When he returned from the Endowment-House he found me there, and he asked how I felt since I left the House; if I had found peace and help. I told him no; that I felt worse, if possible, than ever. It was then that he reproved me for the levity which he had seen me show, and told me he feared I did not take my Endowments in the right spirit. I began to think that that might be the case, and that the fault lay with me and my understanding, and possibly the ordinance was not such a farcical proceeding as it had seemed to me; and I took the reproof so humbly and with such good grace, that Brother Heber grew absolutely hopeful for me.
It is claimed that the mysterious rites were taken from Masonry, and that the Endowments are a direct outgrowth of the secret society. Brigham Young delights, I know, to speak of it as "Celestial Masonry," but I am very sure all good Masons would repudiate it and its teachings.
In regard to the oaths of secrecy which I took at that time, I do not consider that I am doing anything wrong in breaking them; I am sure I shall in no way be held accountable for so doing. I took them because I felt that I must. I did not know what I was promising until after the oath was given me, while I listened with uplifted hand. I was bound to secrecy, but I feel that right and justice demand that I shall break these bonds. I consider it a duty to expose, as far as I possibly can, the wickedness, cruelty, blasphemy, and disloyalty of the leaders of the deluded Mormon people.
All Mormons who have received their Endowments are buried in their robes - caps, shoes, apron, and all. It is held necessary in order to insure their entrance into the Celestial Kingdom. One of the authorities in the church was once asked what would become of the Mormon children who should die before they were old enough to receive their Endowments, and consequently were buried without the robes.
He replied that their parents, or whoever had the power of resurrecting them, must prepare the clothing, and when their dead came out of their graves they were to clothe them with the sacred robes.
A few years since a man named Baptiste was discovered robbing the dead of their garments, and as a matter of course the greatest excitement prevailed. He was immediately " made away with," his house searched, and a large number of robes discovered. Some said that he was put on a little island in the lake, and left to perish. Others said that Porter Rockwell looked after his interests. But certain it is that he "disappeared," and was never seen again. The garments were identified, and the friends of the dead began taking up the bodies and replacing the robes. Brigham ordered them to desist, telling them that "under the circumstances their friends would be taken care of in the resurrection;" so most of the robes were never restored.
THE PROPHET MAKES LOVE TO ME. - I HAVE OTHER
The Prophet Casts his Eye on Me. - He Objects to my Beaux. - "A Low Set Anyway." - I Didn't Want to Marry the Prophet. - He Considers Himself an Irresistible Lover. -
My First Drive with the Prophet. - I Join the Theatrical Corps. - How We "Got Up" Our Parts. - How "Fun Hall" was Built. - The Prophet Erects a Theatre out of Temple
Funds. - How Julia Deane, the Actress. Fascinated the Prophet. - How Brigham Cheated the Actors in his Theatre. - The Girls Grumble over their Scanty Fare. - They want Something Good to Eat. - My New Beau. - Love at First Sight. - I am Engaged to My First Husband.
Soon after I took my Endowments, Brigham Young showed his consciousness of I my existence. He had always seen me frequently, but had regarded me and treated me as a child. He seemed suddenly to realize that I had grown to be a young lady, and the first intimation he gave of it was by interfering with my beaux.
Like most girls of my age, I was very fond of gay society; liked honest admiration and attention; and I should like to know what girl of seventeen does not, whether she be Mormon or Gentile?
I was at that time quite intimate with Emmeline Free's children, and I knew nearly all of the rest of Brigham Young's children; but Emmeline's were nearer my own age, and circumstances had thrown us more together. Ernmeline had a younger brother, Finley Free, who was at one time a great friend of mine; indeed, as many boys and girls before us have done, I suppose we fancied we were in love with each other. Finley was a jolly fellow, full of fun, and we agreed capitally. Emmeline used to throw us together in every possible way, - for, I suppose, like most women of a somewhat romantic turn of mind, she was fond of matchmaking, and having no other convenient couple at hand, she amused herself with us.
Brigham saw me often at Emmeline's, and twice at the theatre, always with Finley Free. He was always very pleasant to me, and I quite liked him, until one day he went to my mother, and told her that be wished her to stop my going about with Finley Free; that I ought not to have anything to do with "those Frees;" they were "a low set anyway," and didn't amount to anything, either the boys or girls - a rather peculiar remark for him to make, when his favorite wife at that time - for that was before the reign of Amelia opened - was one of those selfsame Frees of whom he spoke so contemptuously to my mother.
Of course I didn't like this interference at all, and I considered myself quite a martyr to the Mormon priestly rule. I expressed my opinion of the Prophet very freely, and, I have no doubt, very foolishly, and I spoke of him in a manner that fairly horrified my mother, who considered me nearly as profane and blasphemous as if I had found fault with the overrulings of Providence. The Mormon people bow as humbly, and say as resignedly, "Thy will, not mine, be done," before a flat of Brigham Young's as they do before a mysterious dispensation of the Lord's; and I honestly believe they would dare question the justice of God sooner than that of Brigham Young. The latter holds them so completely, body and soul, that they shrink before his displeasure in absolute
terror, and regard religiously his every slightest wish.
All the girls of my acquaintance knew of the trouble, and, naturally enough, all sympathized with me; and a more rebellious set of mortals was never seen. We indulged in the most incendiary talk, and turned the torrent of our wrath especially against polygamy. One girl suggested that, as the old men always interfered With the girls' "fun," it was more than likely that it was because they wanted them for themselves; and ended by turning to me, and saving, "Perhaps Brother Brigham means to marry you himself."
"But he won't," said I, angrily "I wouldn't have him if he asked me a thousand times, - hateful old thing."
My spirit was warmly applauded by my auditors, and we all entered into a solemn compact. then and there, never, never, to enter polygamy. How fortunate it was that our futures were unrevealed to us I look back now to that time, and then think of the girls as they are to-day, - most of them polygamous wives. - hating the bondage in which they are held, yet wearing their galling fetters with a hopeless sort of patience, that is, after all, only silent endurance; for it would avail nothing if the should cry out in despair and desperation; they would only be treated with greater neglect, insulted oftener and
more openly, or else held up to public ridicule by their religious leader, to whom the unhappy husbands of these complaining wives-women who dared to be wretched when Mormonism declared they should not - had related their domestic grievances.
It may seem rather strange that such a simple affair as a school-girl's indignation-meeting should be reported to the Prophet. But it was; and, among
other things, my unlucky speech was repeated to him. Most men would have laughed at it as mere girlish nonsense and folly, and never have thought of it again, much less spoken of it; but not so Brigham Young. No affair is too trivial to fail to be of interest to him; and, besides, in this speech of mine - girl as I was - his vanity was sorely hurt. If he has one weakness above all his other weaknesses, it is his vanity regarding the power he possesses over my sex: and to have his fascinations called in question was a sore hurt for his pride.
What cowards we all are, to be sure! I was as brave as you please in making my declaration of independence to my mates, whom, at that particular period, I was something of a heroine; but when called upon to defend that declaration I am ashamed to say, I left it to take care of itself, and employed myself in stammering out excuses for its existence.
I was going home one day, and was walking leisurely along, when the presidential carriage, with the President himself as the sole occupant, stopped at the edge of the sidewalk. Brother Brigham gave me a very kindly greeting, and said, "You are some distance from home; get in and ride with me; I will carry you there."
I knew the invitation was equivalent to a command; so I got reluctantly into the carriage, feeling very small in deed, and hating myself that I did not refuse. As we rode along, he suddenly burst out with, "I heard you said you wouldn't marry me if I wanted you to ever so much."
I was so surprised that it nearly took away my breath. I managed to stammer out a very incoherent, lame reply, and grew every minute more embarrassed. He said no more to me on the subject. but was very pleasant, and took me home to my mother, who was quite surprised to see me appearing in that style. I think Brigham's mind was made up from that time that I should one day be his wife; not, I think, from any particular affection which he cherished for me. but to punish me for my foolish speech, and to show me that his will was stronger than mine, and that he did not choose to be set at
defiance even by so insignificant a person as myself.
The autumn in which I was eighteen years of age, he sent for me to come to the theatre as a member of the company, for he wished to make an actress of me. At the same time he told my mother that he thought I had better stay at the "Lion House," which is where the larger part of the family live, as our own house was so far away from the theatre that it would be extremely inconvenient for me to live there, as I would be obliged to be back and forth from the theatre every evening, and often through the day. He wished me to enter upon my new duties at once, and as I had no thought of disobeying him, I
went immediately on receiving the summons. I did not see why I should be sent for, as I had no particular talent or taste for the stage, and I knew absolutely nothing about the art of acting. I never had the slightest training or preparation for it, but plunged into it, entirely ignorant of what I was undertaking. I did "juvenile business," with an occasional "soubrette" part as a variation; but in the latter line I was not nearly so successful. Several of Brigham's daughters were acting at the time. The most prominent were Alice, who did "leading" business, and Zina, who was "leading juvenile."
At that time the theatre was a church affair. All the actors and actresses were Mormons, with the exception of an occasional "star," and all of them played without salaries. They were selected from the first families in the city by the owner of the theatre, who, of course, was Brigham Young, and spent literally all their time in studying, rehearsing, and preparing wardrobes, which they furnished themselves. The honor of being selected by Brother Brigham to amuse him and assist him was supposed to be sufficient remuneration.
The theatre, by the way, has been. and still is, a prolitic source of revenue to the Prophet. Theatricals have always been largely patronized by the Saints, and rank with dancing as an amusement. They were introduced into Nauvoo by Joseph Smith, and as soon as possible after the arrival in Salt Lake Valley they were commenced. The actors were all amateurs, and the playing. no doubt, was something quite extraordinary but it was a recreation, and fortunately the audiences were not critical. Dramatic effects are very much liked by this people, and they would reduce everything to a play, if possible. They certainly make it a part of religious service; for what is the "Endowment," if it is not a drama, and a very silly one at that?
The first Utah theatricals were held in a building called "Social Hall," but after a time the Prophet became impressed that another building was required. So, taking "Amusements" as a text, be delivered a sermon on the proposed new building. He said he should christen it "Fun Hall," as he thought that would be the most appropriate name that could be given it. " It is," he said, " to be a place where the Saints can meet together and have all the fun they desire. And no Gentiles shall ever desecrate its sacred stage with their tragedies. It is built exclusively for ourselves and our own holy fun."
This was good news to a people who were already becoming very weary with the exactions of their priesthood. Now, the Prophet said, it was the will of the Lord that we should have a little relaxation from the constant, wearing toil, which was beginning to be almost unendurable. The Prophet further enlightened us how it was to be built. can borrow some of the `Temple fund.' for present use " he explained "but that will be a matter of but small moment, since we can so soon replace it." So "Fun Hall" was built with the tithing, and any Saint could have access to the amusements given there by paying whatever entrance fee Brigham demanded. It did not retain its name after it was finished, but was called " Brigham's Theatre."
As soon as it was completed it was dedicated, after the usual Mormon fashion. The choir sang, and the singing was followed by earnest and lengthy prayer from some good brother, - I have forgotten which one, - after which Brigham rose, and said, -
"Through the help of the Lord, we have been able to build this theatre. I know that it is as good a building as any of the kind that was ever built, and I am not going to have it defiled like the Gentile theatres. I will not have a Gentile on this stage. Neither will I have tragedies played. I've said that before, and I mean it. I won't have our women and children coming here to be frightened so they can't sleep at night. I'll have a Saints' theatre, for the Saints, and we'll see what we can do ourselves."
Yet, in flat contradiction to all this bombast, it was not three months before tragedies were represented on that stage, and, the very first winter, a Gentile actor was engaged, who played there through the entire season. Gentile players and Gentile plays have been continued up to this day, and let me assure you there is no more appreciative admirer of the actresses who visit Salt Lake than Brigham Young. He has fallen a victim to the charms of several, but he never was so impressed as he was with Julia Deane Hayne. He was madly in love with her, and, for a while, Amelia's position seemed a little precarious. He bestowed every attention upon the lady, had her portrait painted on his sleigh, and made her actual offer of marriage. which she refused on the spot, without even taking time for consideration. His regard for her never ceased, and I have heard, on what seemed very good authority, - although I cannot vouch for its truth, - that after he heard of her death he had one of his wives baptized for her, and then sealed to him for her; so he is sure, he thinks, of possessing her in the next world, although he could not induce her to look kindly upon him here. No doubt she will be properly grateful when she finds out that he has taken care of her future welfare, and has assured her salvation, and fixed her position in the next world.
Since the theatre was first opened, all or nearly all the "stars " have played there, on their way to California. We have had all the actors and actresses, from Forrest and Le Clerq to Lydia Thompson and Dickie Lingard, and the entertainments have varied from tragedy to a "variety show." We have had as musical entertainments everything from opera to negro minstrelsy. We have had Gentiles in the stock company; and some of our Mormon girls, who have made success in their profession, have slipped away to other places, renounced Mormonism, and are making fine positions for themselves in the outside world. A Miss Alexander, especially, who was one of our most promising actresses, became a very great favorite in California. where she played for some
The theatre has been a source of wealth to Brigham. Built by money extorted from the people for the avowed purpose of erecting a Temple to God, it, of course. was no expense to him, personally; and yet. although built by the church money, he has appropriated it as private property, and he pockets every dollar that is made at the theatre, and devotes it exclusively to his own use. For a long time his actors, except the Gentile ones, whom he was obliged to pay. cost him nothing, and as everyone furnished his or her wardrobe, the owner of the theatre was put to very little expense in carrying it on.
Now he has to pay even his Mormon players. He tried a short time ago to return to the old system again, but he failed utterly, as the actors would not listen to such a proposition for a moment, and he did not dare to press it, lest he should lose some of the best members of his company. The younger Mormons are not afraid to leave Utah, and the church; and, thrown as they constantly are with people from the outside world, - the Babylon, which they have been taught to dread and look upon with fear and horror, as a place full of all kinds of lying abominations, and wickedness of every sort, - they have many opportunities of learning of that same world and what it offers. This Gentile intercourse is doing more than anything else to break the tyrannical yoke
of a corrupt priesthood, and liberalize the minds of the Utah people.
In the days of my own dramatic experiences, the Gentile element by no means predominated, and we all worked for the good of the Prophet. I was never enthusiastic over my profession, and never made a brilliant success in it, though I was something of a favorite, and had very pleasant things said of me, not only in the Salt Lake, but even in the California papers, by some persons who had seen me act. Whatever it was that kept me from being an absolute failure I never knew. It certainly was not because I had prepared for my profession, for I had not; and I only went through the parts assigned to me as I fancied they should be given, and I never attempted any stage tricks or mannerisms. If I had, my doom would have been sealed. I fancy that my adherence to nature, and a constant refraining from striving for effect, had a great deal to do with my popularity; for I was liked, even though I was no artist. and it is not egotism for me to say it. I was glad to be liked, and I am glad still, and I knew that the liking was genuine and honest, and I returned it, too. My public was like a party of friends, and I was always on the best or terms with them, and grateful to them for giving me so much encouragement.
Then the company were all my friends. It was almost like a family; arid I do not believe there was ever a theatre where there was less of envyings, and jealousies, and strifes, than there was among us. I look back to those days as among my pleasantest recollections; for, in addition to my happy theatrical life, I then first realized the romance of love.
As had been proposed by Brigham when he summoned me to the theatre, I spent most of the time at the Lion House with the family. Most of them I had known from my earliest childhood; so I was not among strange people, but rather among good friends. I went home every Sunday, and once or twice during every week, and called it living at home; but I visited in the Prophet's family.
They lived there in the most frugal manner. There was enough on the table, but the fare was not so varied as might have been, and the younger ones, especially, used to get very tired of the constant repetition of dishes. We usually knew just what we should bind on the table; for, whatever else was absent, bread and butter and dried peach- sauce were always there. It got rather monotonous after a while; and I must confess I used to enjoy rushing off to my mother and getting something good to eat, and the girls used to enjoy going with me, when I would take them. They grumbled as much as they dared over the home fare but they did it very quietly among themselves, as they did not dare to have their complaints reach their father's ears, for he would not endure grumbling from them any better than he would endure it from any of his people.
But it was a very funny sight, if one could only have seen it as I did, to watch the girls when the bell rang for tea or for breakfast. They would all jump up from whatever they happened to be doing. and, striking various attitudes. would exclaim. "Bread and butter and peach-sauce." Sometimes the tone assumed would be tragical in tile extreme sometimes it would be pathetic, sometimes despairing, sometimes expostulatory; and the attitudes would all agree with the tone. Then all the way down the long hall that led to the dining-room, as long as they could without being perceived and reproved by any of the elder members of the family, they would march along, and chant, in subdued tones. in a doleful sort of wail, "bread and butter and peach-sauce." I once suggested that it sounded like a dirge.
"Don't we wish it were" answered one, quickly; "but in that case, my dear, we should put more spirit into our performance."
I little thought. in those days, that I should ever be in a position to "wail" in earnest over the Prophet's parsimony - in those days when I "assisted" his daughters at their daily performances. I think I should have put more heart into my wailing, and sorrowed quite as much for my own sake as for the lack of luxuries on the prophetic table. But the fun that we got out of it, and the knowledge that we should be disapproved of if our grumblings were known, gave a relish even to the monotonous fare, and we endured it as we could not if we had not the memory of the frolic to assist us. Nothing is hard to endure if you can in some way make a jest of it, not even "bread and butter," and the driest of dried peach-sauce.
It was while I was acting that I met my first husband, Mr. James L. Dee. He was an Englishman. a very handsome fellow, and a very great favorite with all the girls. It was one of those romantic affairs called "love at first sight," and I surrendered at discretion, without attempting to resist the hold which the note fancy took on me. We met accidentally at the house of a mutual friend, and the chance meeting soon ripened into a friendship, and that into a nearer relation. My whole life was brightened by the new, sweet glory that had swept in in such a torrent upon me. It took on a new look, and even the most common things were invested with a strange, novel interest. Nothing seemed natural. Everything in my life had deepened and broadened in the light
of my new experience. Commonplace people grew interesting, commonplace events stirring. The whole world was tinted with the rose-color of my romance. I was very happy. My friends did not approve of my lover at all, and they all advised me not to encourage his attentions. They saw that he was in no way my equal; but I was so blinded that I would not see what they pointed out to me. There was disparity in disposition and in temperament all of which promised, to those who could see and understand the matter, unhappiness if we came into a closer relationship.
But what girl of eighteen ever thinks seriously of these things? I was, I suppose, no more unwise than all girls of that age are, nor any more unreasonable. I had a touch of romance in me nature, and I did what so many women do who are in love. I made an ideal; then I set myself to find some living person to invest with all the virtues and graces, mental. moral. and physical, of my imaginary hero. I found the person. and straightway set myself to worship. But he was a very different person from the one of me creation; the one was brave, gentle, noble, kind, and steadfast the other - well, time will show what he was.
But all the winter, after I went on to the stage. I was loving this imaginary being, and calling it James Dee. I grew ambitious, and I acted better all the time. I think, perhaps. if I had remained on the stage. and had not lost my ideal, I should have accomplished something in my profession. Love does make a woman ambitious. If she never had before, in all her life, a desire to be, to do, to excel, she has it now. She wants to do something to make herself the better worth his taking. There is such a sweet humility about a woman's love! She is always depreciating herself, always growing she and timid in the light of the superior wisdom which she insists that her lover must possess.
It is very sweet to worship in this way, but it is disastrous. It is bad for both lover and beloved. But girls, in their first romance, don't take this into account.
My parents did not forbid my engagement, although they plainly told me they did not approve of it; and after thee found that I was determined, they gave a reluctant consent, but they counselled silence on the subject, hoping that I might see something in me lover which should induce me to change my mind. They were wise enough not to tell me the reason, but I knew it intuitively, and the very knowledge that they were hoping that I might give him up made me only the more determined to cling to my lover in spite of them all. And I did. I never wavered in my devotion for a moment. I gave him the truest love a woman can give a man; the entire wealth of me affection I lavished on him; and he repaid it as men of his class, selfish, overbearing, and domineering. usually repay it - in neglect and abuse when once I was in his power.
But be showed none of that domineering spirit in the days of our early acquaintance; he deferred to me in the slightest matter he professed me very tenderly, to love and I believe he did love me as well as he was capable of loving anything, or anybody, outside of himself. At all events, I found nothing to miss in his care for me, and affection towards me, and for the few months preceding my marriage, everything in me life was tinted with the softest rose glow.
MY FIRST MARRIAGE. - A LIFE'S MISTAKE.
My First Marriage. - Wedded to James Dee. - Marriage Rites in the Endowment-House. -The way in which Plural Wives are Taken. - Brigham sends for Me to help in the
Theatre. - Repenting of Matrimony. - I get tired of it in a Month. - Cruel Conduct of my Husband. - He flirts considerable with the Young Girls. - I am greatly Disgusted and
furiously Jealous. - He threatens to take another Wife. - The Ownership of Women in Utah. - How Newspaper Reporters are humbugged by Brigham. - How Visitors to Salt
Lake are Watched. - The Prophet's Spies. - How People are misled about Utah Affairs. - The Miseries of the Women Overlooked.
I was married in the Endowment-House, on the 4th of April, 1863.
As persons are not allowed to enter the inner rooms of that mysterious place for the purpose of going through any of the rites or ordinances of the church in their customary dress, we, of course, wore our Temple-robes during the ceremony. We carried our robes with us, and dressed there, not appearing outside in our sacred clothing.
I must confess I no longer regarded the Endowment-House with the awe which I had felt previous to my first visit there, and the whole manner in which everything was done was so very stagey, that I failed to be impressed at all on this my second visit, although the object of my present visit naturally made me feel more solemn than I otherwise should.
The marriage service, which is not long, was performed by Brigham Young. We first gave our names, ages, native town, county, state, and country, to the Elder John Lyon, who acts as scribe in the Endowment-House, and he carefully recorded them, as he does those of every couple who come to be sealed. We then went before Brigham
Young, who was waiting for us, and the following ceremony made us man and wife:-
"Do you, Brother James Dee, take Sister Ann-Eliza Webb by the right hand, to receive her unto yourself, to be your lawful and wedded wife, and you to be her lawful and wedded husband, for time and for all eternity, with a Covenant and promise on our part that you will fulfil all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this holy matrimony, in the new and everlasting covenant, doing this in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses, of your own free will and accord?"
"Do you, Sister Ann-Eliza Webb, take Brother James Dee by the right hand, and give yourself to him to be his lawful and wedded wife, for time and for all eternity, with a covenant and promise on your part that you will fulfil all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this holy matrimony in the new and everlasting covenant, doing this in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses, of your own free will and accord?"
"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the authority of the holy priesthood, I pronounce you legally and lawfully husband and wife, for time and for all eternity. And I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection, with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with glory, immortality, and everlasting lives; and I seal upon you the blessings of thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, and exaltations, together with the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And I say unto you, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, that you may have joy and rejoicing in your prosperity in the day of the Lord Jesus. All these blessings, together with all other blessings pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, I seal
upon your heads, through your faithfulness unto the end, by the authority of the holy priesthood, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
The scribe then entered the date of the marriage, together with the names of my mother and the one or two friends who accompanied us.
When the marriage is a polygamous one. the above service is prefaced in the following manner. The wife stands on the left of her husband, the bride at her left hand. The President then puts this question to the wife -
"Are you willing to give this woman to your husband, to be his lawful and wedded wife for time and for all eternity? If you are, you will manifest it by placing her right hand within the right hand of your husband." The tight hands of the bridegroom and bride being thus joined, the wife takes her husband by the left arm, as if in the attitude for walking, and the ceremony then proceeds in the manner which I have quoted.
Mine was not a polygamous marriage. I had married a man with no wife, and who assured me that I should be the only one, and I was correspondingly happy. I had seen so much wretchedness about me, and so much unhappiness in my father's family, where polygamy showed only its best side, that I was glad to escape it. To be the only one who had right to my husband's care seemed so blissful! and I was sure that very many women were envying me because I was so fortunate. I acted the evening of my marriage, and the news of it having got out, I was greeted, when I made my appearance, with the most tumultuous applause. Cheer after cheer arose, and it was some minutes before I could speak my lines. Every time I appeared, there was a repetition of this scene, and I was fairly embarrassed, so persistent was the applause. There was the more excitement, probably, because I had kept my approaching marriage a secret, and but very few, even of my personal friends, knew anything about it. I had stolen a march on the public, and not having the opportunity for congratulating me on my engagement, they made up for it by congratulations on my marriage. For once I was the central figure on the stage, and all my superiors gave way to me with a graceful good nature.
I remained in the theatre a month after my marriage, during which time I learned that I had made a fatal mistake in my marriage. I was forced to see, what my friends had tried to show me before, and the honeymoon was not over before I bitterly regretted my headstrong wilfulness. I loved my husband, but he made me terribly unhappy. He was accustomed to indulge in furious fits of anger, which fairly frightened me, during which he would talk shamefully to me, and threaten me with all kinds of ill treatment. I learned, too, that though I was bound to him, he still considered himself, and was considered, an unmarried man, as far as his right to marry again was concerned; and he soon became quite a noted gallant among the young girls, bestowing on them the attentions that he had given me in our unmarried days, and treating me in the indifferent, matter-of-fact manner, tinged with a "help it-if-you- can" air, which most Mormon men assume towards their helpless wives. Whenever he wished particularly to torture me, he would threaten to take another wife, and name over the girls whom he said he particularly fancied.
I had one friend, of whom I was very fond. He became jealous of my affection for her, and in order to win me from her, and to break up our friendship. he pretended very great interest in her. He would leave me to go home by myself from the theatre, and would go off with her and remain a long time; then, on his return, would tell me what he said was the conversation between them, in which he would represent her as making the most ardent love to him, until, at last. I fairly came to hate her. I would not see her if I possibly could help it, and I was anything but cordial to her when we did meet. I believe now that my husband lied to me wickedly and deliberately; and yet, such was the effect of all his influence on me. that to this day I cannot see my old friend that a feeling of the most intense bitterness does not rise up in my heart against her. I never could get back the old feeling of affection for her, even though I felt that I was wronging her by my unjust treatment; but polygamy does not tend to make one woman just towards another. Suspicions, jealousies, heartburnings, strifes of all kinds are engendered by this system, and it serves to lower the moral tone of women as well as of men. Both are sufferers
alike in this respect, although possibly in a different degree. The women have all through the more conscience in the matter, though they grow bitter, and spiteful, and revengeful, while "bearing the cross."
I know I did. although I was only threatened by my husband; and I presume I annoyed him greatly by my tears and reproaches. A woman in Mormonism has need enough for tears, but it is little use for her to shed them; they only bring upon her the ridicule of all the Mormon men, from her husband at home to Brigham in the Tabernacle. This is the sympathy the "Head of the Church" gives her in public. Said he. in one of his most famous sermons:-
"It is said that women are tied down and abused; that they are misused, and have not the liberty they ought to have; that many of them are wading through a perfect flood of tears, because of the conduct of some men, together with their own folly.
"I wish my own women to understand that what I am going to say is for them as well as for others, and I want those who are here to tell their sisters, - yes, all the women of this community, - and then write it back to the States, and do as you please with it. I am going to give you from this time to the sixth day of October next for reflection. that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands or not; and then I am going to set every woman at liberty, and say to them. Now, go your way - my women with the rest - go your way.' And my wives have got to do one of two things either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me. I will go into heaven alone, rather than have scratching and fighting around me. I will set all at liberty. `What! your first wife, too?' Yes. I will liberate you all. I know what my women will say. They will say. `You can have as many women as you please, Brigham.' But I want to go somewhere, and do sornething, to get rid of the whiners."
Following his Prophet's head comes Jedediah Grant. in this fashion:-
" We have women here who like anything but the Celestial Law of God; and if they could break asunder the cable of the Church of Christ. there is scarcely a mother in Israel but would do it this day."
This in a tone of the sternest reproof. as though to hate a system which makes them the most abject slaves, under a most terrible master, was a crime. When women go to Brigham Young (as now and then one is foolish enough to do, before she gets thoroughly to know her Prophet and his peculiarities of temper and manner), and tell him of their unhappiness, and ask his advice, he whines, and pretends to cry, and mimics them, until they are fairly outraged by his heartless treatment, and their indignation or grief gets the supremacy over their other trouble. Then he tells them to go home, and make the best of things, and not make everlasting fools of themselves; or something else equally refined and consoling. They may consider themselves fortunate. indeed, if he does not refer to the interview in his next Sunday's sermon. and tell the names of the unhappy women, with coarse jests and unfeeling comments, which
render them doubly wretched, since their husbands. incensed at them for complaining, and knowing that they are perfectly safe from priestly indignation or rebuke, make them feel the weight of their displeasure by grosser neglect or more brutal treatment.
The entire ownership of women is nowhere more fully assumed by their husbands than it is in Utah. A woman is obliged to submit to every exaction from him, to grant every request, obey every demand. In return, she need expect nothing, not even support. "You are mine, body and soul. but you have no right to claim anything from me more than what I choose to give you," is the attitude of every man in polygamy towards his wives. A "blessed" system, surely! It is no wonder that Brigham talks about the women's "rounding up their shoulders " to bear it, and one certainly fails to feel the surprise which " Jeddy " probably imagined he would arouse when he announced that the "mothers in Israel," unhappy and desolate, would break "the cable of the church"
asunder if they could. This fanatical follower of Brigham Young never spoke a truer word in his life, whether he spake by inspiration or not. There was not a woman, then, who would not have broken her chains if she could, let the whole Mormon Church call these fetters what they might, and there is not a woman among them to-day who would not slip her fetters if she knew how. It is all very well for the Mormon leaders and their sympathizers in the Gentile world to say that the women are contented, and even happy, in polygamy; the one knows he speaks what is not true ; the other tells the tale as it is told to him, refusing to use his eyes, his ears, or his common sense.
Newspaper correspondents visit Salt Lake City, and when they arrive they are brimming over with disgust and indignation towards this system and the people who follow it; but, by-and-by, a change comes over them; their readers are informed that the Mormons are a thriving, industrious people, their men brave, hospitable, shrewd, and hard-working; the women quiet and peaceful, evidently well reconciled to their peculiar marital relations; that Brigham Young is not such a bad fellow, after all, and his sons are jolly, freehanded. generous men, with plenty of keenness, and a great deal of knowledge of the world; and then the people who read their letters wonder at the changed tone, and find themselves thinking more leniently of this people and its peculiar social system than ever before. and they say, "If all this is true, why need we meddle?" But it is not true, not one word of it. and these same men who are writing these letters know it; but, in some way, they get to working in the Prophets interests before they leave the Territory. He manages to get hold of them if they are of any ability, and able to influence the public, and if they are easily influenced themselves they soon see things as he intends they shall see them. I suppose his manner of influencing them differs. but I think it will be readily understood.
The truth is simply this: the Mormon people are absolutely afraid to have the outside world come too close to them; they let them see just so much, but not one bit more. The leaders act as showmen, also as mouthpieces, and the mass of the people are but a cunningly manipulated lot of marionettes, who perform certain antics for a curious public, while the shrewd wire-puller sits behind, and orders every movement, and makes every speech. There has been, until very recently, no such thing as getting at the absolute truth concerning these people; but lately, since the Gentile element has been so largely increased in Utah, and in Salt Lake City especially, it has been useless for the Saints to attempt to hide their real condition.
A Mormon wife-beater is as mercilessly exposed through the columns of the Gentile papers as the Gentile offender of the same class, and the nefarious dealings of Mormon officials are publicly reproved in a manner that does not tend to make them comfortable in the least. The miseries caused by this cursed system are fully ventilated, and the true condition of things revealed. When flippant newspaper correspondents, after a visit to the valley of the Saints, go away and write in terms of ridicule of the Mormon women, calling them fearfully ugly in looks, they little know what bitter, hard, cruel experiences have carved the deep lines round the eves and mouths, and made the faces grow repulsive and grim, and taken from them all the softness, and tenderness, and grace which glorify a happy woman's face, even if she be ever so plain of feature. If these men, who write so carelessly, could only see the interior of the lives that they are touching with such a rough, rude hand, they might be, perhaps, a little more sympathetic in tone. It is no wonder that the women of Utah are not beautiful; there is nothing in all their lives to glorify or beautify their faces, to add at all to their mental or physical charm or grace. They are pretty enough as children; as young girls they can compare favorably with any girls I have seen in the East; but just so soon as they reach
womanhood the curse of polygamy is forced upon them, and from that moment their lives are changed, and they grow hard or die - one of the two - in their struggles to become inured to this unnatural life. This system either kills its victims outright, or crushes out every bit of hope and ambition from them, leaving them aimless and apathetic, dragging out existence without the least ray of present happiness or future anticipation to lighten it.
I was taught from my earliest childhood that there was nothing good outside of the Mormon Church; that the Gentile men were bad to the core, possessing neither honor nor manly virtues of any kind, and that every Gentile woman was so vile as to be utterly unworthy of mention; that goodness was unknown among them, and that certain destruction awaited them and those who associated with them. My mother mourned over her friends and relatives outside of Mormonism as lost souls, and she prayed almost literally without ceasing that they might be shown the true way before it was too late. She could not govern her natural affection. She must love them; they were her very own, and were very dear to her; hut I really think, especially in the days of the intense religious excitement, that she almost hated herself for loving them so truly and so well. She wrote them the most pathetic letters of entreaty, filled with alternate pleadings and arguments, begging them to come to Zion, and "make sure of their souls' salvation." They, in turn, pitied her delusion, but had no hope that she would ever escape from it; they little knew that the child, whose future they were deploring, would one day be the means of leading that mother out of the bondage in which she was held, through many tears and much tribulation, to the light of a brighter, more comforting faith.
Conscience and an almost superstitious belief in her religious leaders made her cling to her religion long after reason taught her that it was a delusion, and made her accept as a sole means of salvation a practice which her whole soul revolted against. It is well that the Mormon leaders call it a "cross." It is simply that, and the hopelessness of it renders it the more difficult to bear. There is no prospect of laying it down, and, unlike the cross of the old legend, it never becomes flower-wreathed. It grows heavier as the days go on, until it bows its bearer down to the very ground.
I learned the misery of even a monogamic marriage under polygamic laws; and, though I never expressed myself so openly on the subject, I yet felt an intense sympathy with a friend of mine, who, when told that her husband thought of taking another wife, replied, with the fire flashing from her black eyes, "If he does, I'll kill him!" It is not at all likely she would have kept her word; she would probably have settled down, as so many women like her have done, into a sullen sort of rebellion, which is not easy to subdue; but she has never been tried; her husband seems as indifferent to the charms of the marriageable young ladies about her as she could desire: yet she never feels entirely safe. How can she, when she knows her husband is constantly admonished that he
is not "living up to his privileges." The sword above her head is suspended by a hair; it is a miracle if it does not fall at last. I know every pang of anxiety, every heart-throb of sick expectation, for I had that selfsame torture for two years, without a moment's cessation. I do not know how I bore it; but I suppose I was only being schooled for what came afterwards.
EARLY MARRIED LIFE. - MY HUSBAND AND MY MOTHER.
My early married Life. - We go to live with my Mother. - Incompatibility of Temper. - How my Mother had opposed our Marriage. - My Husband does not Admire Her. - He
goes after the Girls. - I don't like it at All. - I become extremely angry with Him. - He is advised to increase his Kingdom. - How Promises to Wives are broken by Mormon
Men. - How Women are Snubbed and Undervalued. - I become anxious and Watchful. - How Heber comforted his Wives. - My husband subjects nine to personal Violence. - He is afraid of Results. - My first Baby is Born. - Zina Young marries into Polygamy. - Contrast between Mormon and Gentile Husbands. - "The Bull never cares for the Calves" - My Husband nearly strangles me. - I leave him. and go to my Parents. - Brigham gives me some good Advice. - I obtain a Divorce. - I rejoice at being free
When I was first married, we went to live in the house with my mother, greatly to her delight, as she could not bear a separation from me. We had always been together so closely, more like sisters than like mother and daughter, and both of us dreaded very much to have this sweet relationship broken. I had been her comfort when every other stay had failed her; her hope when she was almost utterly hopeless. She had lived in me and for me, and my happiness and welfare had been her constant thought. She had opposed my marriage as a duty, and because she thought she saw only misery for me in the relation; not for a want of sympathy for me, for it really hurt her more to oppose me than it did me to persist in spite of her opposition. I had been her companion in all her wanderings, and the confidante alike of her sorrows and joys, and it was hard for her to think of parting from me, even though I might be not very far away; still our interests were naturally somewhat divided when I came to give the first place in my heart to another.
My husband owned a house, but it was rented; so until it was vacated we had a part of my mother's house, where we kept house quite cosily, and should have been very happy, had not my husband's temper and desire to torment me made life almost unbearable. I tried, as far as I could, to hide my unhappiness from my mother; but I did not succeed. Her motherly eyes were too keen, her maternal instinct too unerring, to be deceived by my silence, although she respected my reticence, and said nothing to me; but she showed her sympathy in a hundred nameless ways. My husband knew of her opposition to our marriage, and he did not like what he termed her interference; though why a mother cannot look after her daughter's interest without being accused of interfering is even now a mystery to me, especially when, seeing that her advice
is not regarded, she withdraws all "interference," and makes the best of the matter that she can. But some persons never forget, and my husband was one of those; and it used sometimes to seem to me as though, in his treatment of me, he was revenging himself for the opposition shown to him by my friends.
I used to hear of his attentions to other girls, and I was furious, while I knew I was powerless. My visitors- many of whom came only when they had anything to tell - used to tell me that they saw James at the theatre with this young lady, or met him going home with that, or that he passed them walking with another, until I was madly jealous of every girl of my acquaintance. - I no longer took pleasure in their society, for I saw in each one a probable rival, and a possible addition to our household. It was no consolation to me to remember that my husband had promised me never to take another wife; I had learned what the promise of a man living under polygamic laws amounts to. It is given as a sort of sedative, and if it soothes temporarily, that is all that is required of it. It is considered no sin to break a promise of this kind; indeed, it would rather seem that it is accounted sin for him to keep it; and I knew that my husband was, as well as other men, occasionally reminded that it was his duty to make his kingdom larger as speedily as possible, by taking another wife, or more than one if he liked.
We had many very stormy interviews on this subject; he used to discuss my callers, and especially the pretty girls, as most Mormon men discuss women, with reference to their points, as jockeys would talk of horses, or importers of fine stock. Polygamy does not tend to enhance the value of womanly dignity and grace, and very little respect for them is either expressed or felt by one brought up under its baneful influence.
It is strange how quickly men, in a polygamous community, lose that chivalrous courtesy which characterizes men elsewhere. It seemed so strange to me to see the deference shown to my sex when I left Utah, and came, for the first time in my life, among people living under monogamic laws. I was particularly struck by the tenderness and consideration which men showed towards their wives and children; and I wondered to see the women, claiming, with a confidence that assured me they were used to it, and considered that it belonged to them, their husbands' attention and care. It was strange, too, to see the deference shown to a woman by the young men and boys; and when once, in a car, I saw a manly little fellow, about twelve or thirteen years of age, rise with a rare grace, and give his seat to an old lady, the tears sprang to my eyes, such an unaccustomed sight was it. I contrasted that boy with the youth of Utah, and I felt with a new indignation flashing through all my veins, and a new sorrow tugging at my heart, the curse that polygamy was to the young men, as well as to the young girls, who are growing up under the teachings of that baneful system. It is horrible It fouls and poisons the stream at its very source (and it adds mud and filth as it crawls along its slimy way), sending up its noxious vapors, until it has bred a most pestilent moral malaria, which nothing but the cool, clear air of religious liberty and education shall ever dispel and purify.
Why cannot men and women, outside of this terrible system, see the horrors of it, and work for its overthrow? My soul cries out in very agony sometimes, `Is there no help for this great evil?' Everywhere the world seems so dead to it! the enormity does not seem to manifest itself unto them. They speak lightly of Mormonism, as of something to ridicule or laugh at, rather than to condemn. God knows there is nothing laughable or ridiculous in it to its victims. It is the most pathetic, tragic earnestness and reality.
I am not imagining situations. and growing pathetic over creations of my own fancy. I know what I say, for I have suffered it. There is not a pang, not a throb of anguish which I have depicted that I have not felt myself.
My health, which was never very good, gave way under the terrible mental and physical strain to which I was subjected, and I was in danger of becoming a confirmed invalid. My physical condition did not make my husband more tender or thoughtful, but he seemed to consider it a wrong towards himself, and took an aggrieved tone because of it. He had worthy examples, to be sure; for Brigham himself grumbles loudly when one of his wives falls ill, even if it is from overwork for his welfare, and complains that he never marries a woman that she doesn't get sick to shirk work. Heber C. Kimball, on
being called once to see one of his wives who had broken her arm, accosted her, on his entrance to her room, with, Why didn't you break your neck at once, and done with it? And it is a notorious fact that two of Orson Pratt's wives have died of neglect during illness. Since the men high in authority set the example, what could you expect of the followers?
Although my husband had often threatened me with personal violence, in addition to the insults and persecution he was constantly subjecting me to, he never offered any until about a month before my baby was born. He made some request of me which I was totally unable to grant. and in his fury at what he termed my stubbornness and rebellion, he struck me violently, and I fell insensible before him.
Then he was frightened for once; he raised me up. carried me to my bed, and used every exertion to bring me to myself. He was afraid the blow was fatal, and he was remorseful enough. When, at last, I regained my senses, he begged my forgiveness, poured out a torrent of self-reproaches, and for a little while was more like my old lover, the man whom I had cared for so tenderly, than he had been since our marriage. I very quickly forgave him: it was so sweet to feel the old tenderness again, that I could in a moment forget all that had passed between, and I readily a greed not to let my family know of this last outrage. He knew, as well as I, that my father and brothers would take me from him, and he really did not wish to lose me; and as for me, he was my husband, and the father of my unborn child, and for the sake of the little life which I held in trust. I could not bear to go away from him. I had hoped, 0, so fondly! that the child would bring us nearer, and I could not give up the hope; and when he stood before me so penitent, and so tender, I was ready to feel that he had always been the same.
But I was doomed to disappointment; after the birth of my child, it seemed as though the fits of passion were more frequent, and of longer duration. He neglected me, and was scarcely at home at all. He did not care for my baby, seeming to consider it a rival, and my love for it seemed to anger him. But what a comfort the baby was to me! How I loved it! All the tide of my affection, that had been so rudely repelled. turned towards it, and I felt that all the interest of my life as centered therein. Like all Mormon women, robbed of a husband's love and care, I should have in and for my child. I knew very well that as far as regaining my husband's real affection was concerned - if, indeed, I had ever possessed it, - the future was hopeless; so I expected nothing from it further, and resigned myself to the inevitable more quietly than I could have believed I ever should have done; but my child made resignation more easy.
The little fellow was very bright and winning, and I used to imagine that he understood my feelings, and sympathized with me in his baby way. The little hands straying over my face and neck were full of sweet comfort; the blue eyes raised to mine in baby confidence were full of love; the little mouth which I covered with kisses never failed to smile back at me, and I even forgot to cry under the sweet, restful influence which the dimpled, rosy little bit of humanity brought into my heart.
But this exquisite happiness was of short duration; for, after a few months, my baby grew very ill; and God only knows how I suffered then. I watched over him day and night. and my devotion to him angered my husband beyond measure. He had no sympathy with or for me in those days of trial; and in addition to seeing my baby pining away, until it seemed that it must some day drift out of my clinging arms into the great unknown, unexplored sea beyond, I had to endure the constant abuse from the man who should at that time have been my stay and my comfort. But what Mormon mother ever gets the tender care from her baby's father that other happier mothers get? No time or place is so sacred that polygamy does not obtrude its ugly presence. A mother may not mourn for her child without feeling the heartless intrusion, as the following little instance will show.
A man named Thomas Williams emigrated from England with his wife and children, all eager to reach "Zion," the promised land of the Saint's inheritance. He was a very devout Mormon. and was easily induced to accept polygamy. He took for his second wife Zina Young, a daughter of Brigham and Zina Huntington, an enthusiastic, conscientious believer in polygamy, and a genuinely good, generous girl, of the most kindly impulses, but, unfortunately, wrongly trained, as all girls are under this system.
His first wife never had believed in the plural-wife system, and was never reconciled to her husband's second marriage. She mourned bitterly about it; and, very naturally, her feelings towards her rival were not kindly or pleasant. The husband knew this perfectly well; and yet, when her little baby died, and she was almost mad with grief, he insisted on bringing the second wife to the funeral as one of the family. The mother was almost beside herself at what she considered this insult to her dead child, and she declared that Zina should not come. Her husband, of course, overruled her; for when, in polygamy,
does a wife ever have her own way? But Mrs. Williams refused to recognize her, and would not allow her to sit in the room with her and the child.
I was spared this torture, for there was no second wife to measure my misery, and God was good, and spared my child. He repaid all my anxious care, and put the child into my arms well and comparatively strong, at the same time that he intrusted another helpless one to my care. I had lost, at that time, much of my faith in my religion. I think I should have lost my belief in God Himself, had my baby been taken from me. But He knew how much I could bear, and he spared me this last hitter sorrow.
I had been at first jealous of the little new-comer for the other baby's sake, who was only a little over a year old when the second one came; but I soon found that I had love enough in my heart for the two. My boys ! How fond, and proud, and even happy I was with them!
The measure of my love seemed to be the measure of their father's indifference, and even hate. He used to either take no notice of them at all, which I infinitely preferred, or he would handle them so roughly that the little things would shriek with pain and terror, and I would be almost frantic with fear lest he should kill them in his mad frolics, which usually ended in a fit of temper because they cried at his rude treatment.
As I was on my way East, I witnessed a little scene that called up painfully the contrast between this father's indifference and another father's care. In one car was a lady with two children; one a little girl about eight years old, and a cunning baby boy, who was just beginning to lisp in that wonderful baby prattle that is so sweet to hear. As we stopped at a station, a gentleman came in, his face beaming with pleasure and expectation. The moment the children saw him, the little girl cried out with joy, "0, my dear papa has come!" and simultaneously mother and child clasped their arms about his neck and kissed him. The baby threw up his arms, and crowed out, "Papa, papa!" and as he took the little fellow in his arms, and fairly rained kisses over the rosy, delighted
little face, the tears sprang to my eyes, and I had fairly to hide my face, for my cheeks were moist, and my mouth would quiver, as I thought of the father's love, of which my children were robbed - of which all children in Utah are robbed-by a fiendish system, given by a corrupt priesthood under the guise of a "Revelation" from God.
What a sarcasm on the infinite, tender, all-pervading love of the Divine Father!
Such a scene as this would be simply impossible in Utah, among that community whose religious leader says, in his peculiarly refined style and expression. when his lack of fatherly attention to his children is noticed and commented upon, "Well, the bull never takes any care of his calves," and whose chief apostles allow their children to grow up without support or training from them, since they are too busy in extolling the beauties of polygamy to the new converts, to give even decent attention to the children whom they have summoned into the world under this "glorious institution."
Two weeks before baby was born, I was sitting one morning with the elder boy on my lap, my husband being in the room, when one of my father's wives' children, a little fellow about three years old, came toddling in. Mr. Dee, happening to want something, asked the child to get it for him. The article in question was on a shelf, out of the child's reach, and to get it he would have to stand on a chair, and even then his tiny fingers could but just touch it. There was a heavy jar on the shelf, which I feared he might pull down upon himself, and I remonstrated against his trying to get it. I offered to reach it myself, but my husband instantly turned and forbade my leaving my chair, saving that the child should bring him what he desired.
"But he must not," I cried, in an agony of terror.
"I tell you he shall," was my husband's answer.
The child stood looking from one to the other, half crying with fear, and yet scarcely daring to disobey the command that had been given to him.
"Louis, fetch it to me instantly," commanded he again.
"Louis, you shall not," said I, half rising from my chair.
In an instant, my husband, maddened with fury that I should dare to contradict him, seized me by the throat, and threw me back into the chair. The screams of the terrified child brought my mother into the room at once. She snatched the baby from my arms, which I still held clasped convulsively, while my husband's fingers were tightening about my throat. I was dizzy with pain, and almost suffocated from the grip; but my maternal instinct was stronger than the pain, and I never relaxed my hold on my child.
My mother called my father, and he came and rescued me from the infuriated man who held me, and carried me into my mother's room. Until that time they had known nothing of the treatment which I received from my husband. They knew that I was unhappy, but so was every woman; so I was by no means isolated in my misery. But I had managed to keep from them all knowledge of the violent treatment I had received at his hands. Their indignation at finding it out was beyond all bounds; for when once it was known, my tongue was loosened, and I poured into the sympathizing ears of mother and father
the whole story of my wrongs. I left nothing untold and it was such a relief to let loose the torrent of misery that had been so long pent up in my heart!
My parents and brothers decided at once that I must leave him; and indeed, I was afraid, both for myself and for my children, to return to him again. He tried to see me in every possible way, but was refused admittance to my mother's rooms. The door of communication that led between her rooms and those I had previously occupied was securely locked, and he was bidden by my father to vacate the rooms as speedily as possible. He then demanded to see me; he tried threats, entreaties, every means that he could devise, but I was carefully guarded, and he could gain access neither to me nor the children.
He was loud in his threats to take the children from me, and I was in terrible fear lest he should in some way gain possession of them. I knew that it would not be love for them which would impel him, but a desire to strike me where it would wound me most; and he knew that he could reach me in no other way so surely as through my children. Since he had become convinced that I would never return to him, that of my own free will I gave him up for ever, he seemed possessed by a spirit of fury, and vowed all manner of vengeance on me.
In order to get me out of his power, my parents determined that I should be divorced from him without delay, and, like conscientious church people, they consulted President Young. He and George Q. Cannon, who was also in our confidence, both took very active measures in my behalf. There were two ways in which I could procure a divorce - one from Brigham, which was considered valid in the church, but I suppose would not stand the test of law; the other from the Probate Court. Brigham strongly advised the latter, as, in case my husband should ever apostatize, he could not take my children from me. He behaved, all through the affair, in such a kind, friendly manner that my confidence in him was fully secured. I had at that time no thought of what the
future would bring, and certainly never dreamed of any closer relationship with him. My whole thought was to get free from my husband, and to have my children so securely that he could not take them from me. They were my only thought, my only care.
I say this because, since I have renounced Mormonism, Brigham Young and his followers have said that I left my first husband on purpose to become his wife - a statement which no one better knows to be false, than Brigham himself. He it was who counselled me to go to the regular courts, rather than depend on his divorcement, which he knew would not stand out of Mormondom, and he and his apostle Cannon rendered me the most valuable and untiring assistance, which I accepted gladly, as I would have accepted aid from any quarter in this extremity.
I was divorced in 1865, and the decree stands to-day in the Court Records of Utah. Since the memory of my Mormon friends seems so treacherous, I will copy the records here as they stand. They may also convince some doubters who seem to place Brigham Young's denial before my complaint, and pin their faith to him, while regarding me doubtfully as a possible adventuress.
"PROBATE COUNTY DOCKET.
"Great Salt Lake County. - Ann Eliza Dee vs. James L. Dee.
" In Divorce.
"1865. December 9th.- Petition filed; summons and notice issued, returnable on 23d inst., at 10 P. M.
"December 23d. - Case called; returns made and decree made dissolving bonds of matrimony, and giving to plaintiff the custody and control of her children. Costs taxed
"1866. March 3d.- Court ordered execution against defendant for costs of suit.
"March 5th. - Execution issued for $20.50, returnable in 20 days.
"March 28th. - Execution returned; no property found; clerk's fees paid by C. G. Webb. in meat.
"RECORDS OF PROBATE COURT, GREAT SALT LAKE COUNTY.
"1865. Dec. 23d. - Ten o'clock, A. M. Court opened. Records of 16th and 20th insts. read and signed.
"The case of Ann Eliza Dee vs. James L. Dee, in divorce, was called up. This case came up for hearing upon the petition of Ann Eliza Dee, formerly Ann Eliza Webb, and
upon the investigation thereof ex parte, the defendant, James L. Dee, failing to appear, C. G. Webb and Ann Vine being sworn and examined, the allegations in the plaintiff's petition were taken as confessed, and thereupon, after hearing the evidence and being fully advised in the premises, it was ordered and decreed by the court that the bonds of matrimony heretofore existing between the said parties be, and the same are hereby, for ever dissolved. That said Ann Eliza shall have and retain the custody and control of her two infant children, James Edward and Lorenzo Dee, during their minority, and that defendant pay costs of suit.
"Judge of Probate Court."
If anyone doubts my copy, they can examine the records for themselves.
My Christmas that year was a merrier one than I had seen for several years. My children were mine, - my very, very own; and no one could take them from me. I clasped them in my arms. I kissed them again and again in an ecstasy of affection. Henceforth I was father, mother, all to them; no one would dispute with me for their affection, no one claim their love. I was supremely, selfishly happy. True, my romance had died; my idol, with its feet of clay, was broken; but maternal love took the place of the girl's romance, and the little souls which had been given into my charge were more beautiful than any idol which I had been able to build for myself. I was saddened by all my disappointments, quieted by all my trials, subdued in spirit by the constant exercise of patience. I had lost my girlish gaiety and vivacity, but I had gained the poise and assurance of womanhood, and was, I hoped, better fitted to be a good mother to my children, which, at that time, was the only ambition I had, and my only interest for the entire future was in them. I dreamed for them, I planned for them, lived in them; and I am only regretful that anything ever divided my interest with them.
But after the one shadow was lifted, before the other fell, I was royally happy, - happier than I ever was in my life before, circled about as I was by clinging baby arms, and held my tiny baby hands.
AFTER MY DIVORCE. - AFFAIRS AT HOME.
After my Divorce from Dee. - "Is Polygamy good to Eat?" - Curious Experiences among the Saints. - A Man who thought his Heart was Broken. - How Two Wives
Rebelled. -The Husband in a Fix. - He Runs Away from Home. - Dismisses his Plural Wife. - Being "Sealed" to Old Women for Eternity. - Nancy Chamberlain's Story. - Who is to be Brigham's Queen in Heaven?- An Old Wife Dresses up as a Ghost. - How Brother Shaw Replenished his Exchequer. - The Battles between my Father's Wives. - My Mother Enjoys his Troubles. - The Store of a Turkey. - A First Wife Asserts Her Rights. - My Life at South Cottonwood. - I Receive Offers of Marriage
After my divorce, I went with my mother to live at my father's farm in South Cottonwood.
Here, I think, I was happier than I had ever before been in my life. My health was much improved, and what with the care of my children and the portion of the household duties which I assumed to assist my mother, my days were well filled. My boys were growing healthy, hearty, rollicking fellows, and they returned my care with all the love which the most jealous heart could desire.
How thankful I was that they were not girls! I knew too well the troubles of my sex in polygamy to wish to bring one girl into the world, who, under the system, would be sure to endure such certain suffering. I made up my mind to teach my boys to shun it, even if it was a vital part of my religion. I was willing to accept all else that Mormonism
taught, and to teach its underlying principles to my boys; but that I could teach them was right.
Young as they were, they realized something of polygamy from hearing it constantly talked of; for when any two women meet, it is the chief topic of their conversation, and they knew enough to discover that it was something that was decidedly unpleasant; but what it was, they, of course had not the slightest idea. Still, with the curiosity natural to
children, they were determined to come to the truth of it some way or other.
One day, my youngest boy, then a little over three years old, astonished my mother by asking, very abruptly,-
"Grandma, do you like polygamy?"
"Not at all," was the reply, wondering what would come next.
" Is polygamy good to eat?" was the next inquiry of this youthful investigator.
My mother thought that it was not very palatable; at least she had not found it so, and as far as her observation went, she had not seen anyone who relished it particularly.
The men had their "crosses" in polygamy as well as the women, and I must confess that I was wicked enough to enjoy their small "miseries," they seemed so insignificant beside their wives'; but as is the case generally, I fancy, they bore them with much less patience. The chief masculine troubles seem to be, that they cannot, with all their trying, make their plural wives agree and dwell together in the "sweet unity" which is so delightful and so essential to entire family happiness, and that they cannot make the wives, or wife, they already have, welcome with any great show of cordiality the
proposal to add another to the family circle.
Not very long before my apostasy, while visiting at the house of a friend, I was introduced to a man, who, my friend afterwards told me, was almost heart-broken at the dreadful conduct of his wife. My sympathies went out at once to the sufferer, and I inquired what indiscretion, or crime, his wife had been guilty of. "0," said my friend, "she is determined that he shall not take another wife, and fights against it all the time, and he has just buried two children; and, all together, he is completely bowed down by grief."
This was before I had dared to give my honest opinion, and I was silent; but my heart ached for the poor mother whose babies were dead, and whose husband, not content with her love, was denouncing her to his friends because she was unwilling to have polygamy added to her other burdens.
A man Utah, whom I knew very well, married a young widow for a second wife, his first strongly disapproving of the principles of polygamy. She had by no means a submissive spirit, and she sought revenge by the only means in her power-by tormenting her husband in all possible ways.
He, like all good Mormon brethren, intended to build up a "celestial kingdom" after the "divinely ordained plan," and he wished his wives to live together. There was no use talking, he said; they must agree well enough for that, as he did not intend to build another house. So he commenced this plan; but he found, after a few days, that whatever it might be in the future, it was far from "celestial here. There was no such thing as peace in the house. His Prophet had often told him that if he could not rule his earthly kingdom, he never would be fit to be a king in the world to come; and as he was very ambitious for royal honors, he was in terrible grief and perplexity. But how to govern two unruly women was quite beyond him. His first wife was a very independent
woman, with a habit of speaking her mind quite freely; and the second had a fiery temper, which she did not hesitate to display when she considered occasion demanded.
In a few weeks he found that he must separate them; so he divided the house, giving each one her apartments - the first wife receiving the principal share, as she had several children. But he had not bettered matters, it seemed. He had intended dividing his time equally between the two; but the first wife was so opposed to this arrangement that he offered to give her two thirds of his time, which, strange as it may seem, did not satisfy her, and made the second wife very angry, until, between them both the poor man was driven almost to his wits' ends.
They had a peculiar way of finding out each other's secrets; add when the husband was visiting one, the other would apply her ear to the key-hole of her rival's apartments. On certain occasions, when the first wife was too much engaged to attend to the key-hole herself, she would place her little daughter - a child not more than six years old - there, and bid her tell her what she heard. Imagine the effect on the child. It seems impossible that any woman, however jealous or curious, would take this means to satisfy her curiosity. Of course the child told the mother the most ridiculous things, which she affected to believe, and told to her husband on his next visit to her; in consequence of which some of the bitterest quarrels ensued.
As soon as possible the husband built a second house, a few rods from the other, and removed the last wife thither, hoping then for a little respite. But he was hoping against hope; for the trouble would never be quieted while the cause remained, and the two women could never come within speaking distance without a fearful quarrel, which often ended in personal violence, blows being exchanged, hair pulled, and dresses torn in the struggle.
Every experiment was in vain. After running away from home once himself, and coming back on account of his children, whom he really loved, he found himself obliged to send Number Two away, when quiet was again restored, although it was secured at the expense of his "kingdom."
The fault was not with either of the women; each one was good enough by herself; but it was in the accursed system, which brought, as it always does, the very worst passions to the surface, and made of each woman who, alone, would have been a comfort to her husband - a fiend, and a constant torment to him.
Some of the Mormon brethren are so anxious to increase their kingdom that they frequently have very old ladies sealed to them. As they are all to be rejuvenated in the resurrection, and as the sealing is done for "eternity" alone, it will be all right in the future, and the discrepancies in age will go for nothing. Even Brigham Young himself has not hesitated to avail himself of his privileges in this peculiar direction, if Nancy Chamberlain's story can be believed. Nancy Chamberlain is a very old, half-crazed Woman, known, I fancy, to every Mormon in the Territory, who solemnly declares that she was sealed to Brigham in Nauvoo, and that she had the promise of being promoted to the place of first wife. She lived in his family for a long time, but she grew old, and infirm, and useless, and he turned her out of the house some years ago; and now she lives as best she may, going about from house to house, and doing light work to pay for her support.
She considers it her duty every little while to go and "free her mind," as she calls it, to Brigham's wives, telling them that they may usurp her place and defraud her of her rights in this world, but she shall be Brigham's queen in heaven. She is an eccentric old woman, but there is no doubt, I think, about her having been sealed to the Prophet. He has a great many old ladies that he expects to resurrect, and assign them to their true position in the eternal world.
These old ladies are sometimes as exacting as their younger sisters, and the husband has all he can do to pacify them and keep them quiet; but not all of them have my mother's experience and that of my old acquaintance, Mr. Ramsay. He was a very devout follower of Brigham's, and, when he was about forty years of age, he was sealed to an old lady eighty years of age, who had no husband, and consequently no hope of salvation, until he very kindly became her savior. He had three wives already, but that was a trifle not worth mentioning to a man expecting to people a world some time in the future; so, as this woman - who was called Catherine - would count one on the list, she was taken, and brought into the house with his other wives.
The first of these women, who had always been a slave to her husband and his wives, was now called upon to take the sole charge of this last selection, which she did willingly enough. But it was a difficult matter to please Catherine. No woman could do more to keep the peace than Mrs. Ramsay, who was one of the sweetest tempered, kindest hearted women in the world, yet in this case it seemed to require superhuman exertions. Catherine complained of her food, her clothing, and her situation generally; but the principal cause of complaint was, that Mr. Ramsay was not sufficiently attentive to her.
"I am your wife," she used to say, in a querulous, piping voice "I have rights and privileges equal to any other wife, and you must and shall spend one fourth of your time with me."
This not being Mr. Ramsay's view of the case precisely, he would reply, - "It is true you were sealed to me, but it was not for time, but for eternity; and I cannot give you any part of my time here. I am willing that you should be taken care of in my family, and that should satisfy you."
But that did not satisfy her, and she determined to make him all the trouble she could. One of her first freaks was to personate a ghost; and, robing herself in white, she visited different apartments of the house while the family slept, more particularly where the husband was. Failing to bring him to terms by this mode of action, she tried something more desperate, and actually set the house on fire ; it was soon discovered, however, and not much harm was done. Mr. Ramsay had been very patient with her, and viewed all her pranks in as charitable a light as possible, saving, it was somebody's duty to exert themselves in her behalf, for she was surely worth saving; and as for her queer actions, she was nothing but a child anyway; so the best thing was not to mind them. Yet this last act of hers made him consider her a very dangerous person, and he advised her to seek a home elsewhere, which she was very soon forced to do, as he went to the southern part of the Territory with his other wives, and left her behind.
She consoled herself by thinking that although she had no husband on earth, she was provided for hereafter, and was very complacent over the reflection, which seemed to afford her wonderful consolation. Mr. Ramsay must be acquitted of having married the old lady for money, as she was very poor, and he gained nothing at all by his marriage. It was really an act of kindness on his part, and real conscientious regard for her future.
Not so unselfish was Brother Shaw, a Mormon whose poverty might be estimated by the fact that he had been twenty rears in Brigham's service as a laborer. His impecuniosity was no bar to his entering the Celestial Kingdom, and setting up a realm of his own, over which he should be ruler. He had already married two wives, when a very old lady, possessed of considerable property, arrived in Zion, and Brother Shaw decided that she needed salvation at his hands, and proposed marriage to her.
She saw through him at once, but fearing for her salvation. she accepted the proposal, and was sealed. This was her first offer in Zion, but she feared, at her time of life, She might never have another; so she allowed herself to be installed as third wife in the Shaw family. Her money was found very useful for the support of the entire family and was spent very freely until it was all gone, when she, like the rest, was obliged to live in great destitution. She certainly has paid handsomely for her "exaltation."
In a family where all were so peacefully inclined as in our own, "trying" occasions are rare; but they would occur sometimes, and I think my mother took a little malicious pleasure in seeing my father bothered about something that had occurred to make "plurality" a trial. He tried as hard as possible to be just, and had always been very particular in dividing everything equally between his wives. One must have no more than the other. There must be the most perfect exactness in everything. I believe he thinks he has dealt out the most even-handed justice, although he used occasionally to be accused of a partiality for his third wife, especially by those comforting persons who liked to talk to the other wives about him.
One year he had a turkey presented to him two or three days before Christmas. He was away from home on receiving it, and he returned quite late at night to my mother's house with his gift. He was in a dilemma. Here he was with a turkey on his hands, and not feeling rich enough to buy the requisite number in addition to give one to each wife. He could not decide at which house to have the fowl roasted. He would have liked to have had the table of each wife graced with just such a bird, hut that was out of the question, and it was equally impossible for all to dine together that day. He was unable to solve the problem; so he concluded to leave it for accident to decide.
On arriving home he placed the turkey quite out of sight, as he supposed, and retired.
My mother, in her rounds of morning work, discovered a suspicious-looking bundle, and, although a little curious concerning it, did not open it, but carried it to my father, with the wrapper on, at the same time asking him what it was.
"It is a turkey," was his reply.
As he said nothing else, she hastily returned it to its place, concluding that she had stumbled on positive proof of his partiality for some other member of his family; and remembering all he had said about equal justice, she resolved that he would find out all about the affair, and, if her suspicions were correct, would not submit with patience, but would speak her mind, if the heavens fell. She opened the battle by saying, -
"I think it very strange indeed that you should purchase a turkey for only one table, and leave the others destitute; and I also think it a very unjust proceeding on your part; if one portion of the family is to have a Christmas turkey, the others should receive the same attention."
"Hold on, my dear," interrupted my father; "not so fast, if you please. You shouldn't jump at conclusions in such a hasty manner. I didn't buy the turkey;
it was given me by a friend."
"0," said my mother, quite nollified, "is that so?" And she was preparing to be quite amiable, when, unfortunately, she happened to recollect that he had asked her at breakfast if she had not better have some chickens killed for Christmas, and she returned to the charge with renewed vigor.
"What are you going to do with it?" demanded she.
"Why, you may have it if you wish," said he; "I am sure I don't know what else to do with it."
Although she was quite prepared to wage warfare for her rights to the very last, my mother really was not prepared for such willing surrender. and, determined not to be outdone in generosity, she replied, -
"0, I really do not care about it. I have chickens, you know, and I like them equally well; in fact, I think I prefer them. But," she continued, with a beautiful stroke of diplomacy, "I would like to decide which of the other wives shall have the turkey, if will allow me, since you have given me the privilege of refusing it."
My father was glad enough to leave the disposition of the turkey with her, as he did not really know any better what to do with it than before, and if she decided for him, all responsibility would he off his shoulders. So he said, with very great cordiality of tone, -
"All right. I have given it to you, you know. You shall make what disposition you please of it."
"Thank you," said she, with equal graciousness of manner; "I should like Elizabeth to have it. She deserves it, and needs it, too, and would be very grateful for it; and then, too, you see, she, being next to me, would claim it by right of. seniority."
"Wisely said," was my father's rejoinder, delighted to have it settled so amicably. So he carried the turkey to Elizabeth as his Christmas offering, and she received it, as my mother thought she would, gladly and thankfully.
Our Christmas dinner, with the chickens, and my mother's delectable puddings and pies, was a success, and we didn't even miss the turkey, though we did have a good laugh over it, and my mother was jubilant, because she had kept it from gracing the tables of the younger wives, since, according to her ideas of justice, if any partiality was to be shown, it should be given in the order of "seniority." I have no doubt that the other tables were well set, in some way or other, but we none of us saw the bills of fare. "Father's turkey" was for a long time the standing jest at home.
During this time at South Cottonwood, while I was teaching my children, helping my mother, and getting all these peeps into the inside experiences of polygamy, my own life running along in the smoothest channels it had ever known, a great change was preparing for me. I had no thought nor premonition of it, as I went blithely about my daily duties, happy and content in the quiet life which I was leading in my mother's companionship, and in my darling childrens love. I dreamed of nothing beyond this peaceful life; I wished for nothing else. Such a sweet restfulness had taken possession of me, and I pictured myself growing old in this quiet spot, with my strong, brave boys near me to make my rough path smooth, and to help my faltering footsteps over
the stony places with their strong arms that would encircle and hold me then, as I encircled them now. The improvement of my health was a source of great joy to me. I never was so well in my life. The color had come back to my cheek, the sparkle to my eye, the smile to my lips, the elasticity to my step, and something of the old life to my spirits, although I had suffered too much to have them quite as light as they were in the old frolicsome days when 1 had gone merry-making with my old companions, had won friends in the theatre, and had wailed "with the girls" over the monotonous fare of the Prophetic table. I was a child with my children, and it would be difficult to tell which of us got the most scoldings and pettings from the fond grandmamma.
She was happy, too, at having me with her again; and though she sorrowed at my sorrow, she could not regret anything that brought me back to her, so long as it did not make me utterly unhappy; and she recognized as well as I the fact, that my life was fuller and freer without my husband than with him, and that my children were better off, and stood far better chances of becoming the men that both she and I wished them to become, under my guidance alone, than under the influence of such a father as theirs. They would never have felt a strong, steady, guiding hand, but would have been, as their mother had been before them, the victim of alternate passion and rough good nature, that was easily shaken.
I had very many offers of marriage. A moderately prepossessing woman in Utah is sure not to be long without them; and I knew that I was that, at least, but I could not be brought to look with favor upon any of my suitors. I did not care to try matrimony again. I had vowed that I would not become a plural wife, and, with my past experience, I was afraid to try even a monogamic alliance again; for I knew that in Utah the step from monogamy to polygamy is very short, and very easily taken. My answer was the same to one and all - "I have my children; I shall live for them alone; they are my only loves."
Some of them appealed to my father and mother to use their influence to make me change my mind; but they refused to interfere, saying that I probably knew my own mind, and, if I did not wish to marry, that was quite enough.
I usually had my own way; and when I knew that any of my persistent suitors had turned to my parents for sympathy and assistance, I laughed to myself to think how little of either they would receive. To tell the truth, they - especially my mother - were no more anxious for me to marry than I myself; and I knew that so long as they had a home, my children and I should share it. I was not allowed to feel that we were in any way a burden, and, to tell the truth, I did honestly try to do all in my power to assist my mother, and make life easier for her to bear.
"I shall never, never leave you," I used to say, as I would nestle at her feet, and lay my head in her lap in the old childish fashion - a habit that I could not bring myself to abandon, even though I was a mother myself, with two bouncing boys to curl down in my own lap in the same loving way, begging for caresses.
"God willing, we will never be parted, my darling."
"Never! never!" cried I, with loving enthusiasm, as I felt her hand on my head, resting in tender benediction there. I kissed the hand that had grown hard with toil for me and for others; and together we sat with no premonition of the future that was so near, and that was to change the whole current of both our after lives.
Brigham Young and some of the apostles were coming to South Cottonwood to hold a meeting. But what was that to me? How did it affect me when he came or went? I had no part nor lot in his movements. Life was nothing to me beyond my mother and children; and all the Prophetic coming and going would not cause a ripple on the surface of my placid life.
So I thought, as I lay cradled in my mother's arms that summer evening in the old farm-house at Cottonwood; and the stars, as they looked down upon me there, revealed nothing more to me.
A WALK WITH THE PROPHET. - HE MAKES LOVE TO ME.
How Brigham Travels through the Territory. - Triumphant Receptions Everywhere. - Trying to Establish the "Order of Enoch." - How the Prophet Insulted his Faithful
Followers. - " Rheumatism in the Temper - Grand Doings in the Settlements. - We go to meet the Prophet. - How the Saints were Lectured in the Bowery. - How Brigham
gave Howard a Piece of Land. - Howard Insulted by the Prophet. - Overlooking the Prophet's Lies. - Van Etten becomes Brigham's "Friend." - He Helps Him to Steal a
Hundred Sheep. - He makes a Big Haul, and Escapes to Canada. - The Prophet Ogles Me during Service-Time. - We Take a Walk Home Together. - He Compliments My
Good Looks. - Makes Love to Me. - Matrimonial Advice. - Brigham Wishes Me to Become His Wife.
On Brigham Young's arrival at South Cottonwood, he was very warmly welcomed, all the people turning out to join in the demonstrations.
This is the usual custom; consequently his travels through the Territory are a perfect ovation. He is generally accompanied by some members of his family; perhaps one or more his wives, and one of his sons. It has lately always been Brigham, Jr., his intended successor, who is taken along, to be initiated into the proper method of doing things; one or more of his counsellors; some of the apostles, and whoever else he may choose to invite to join his party. They go in carriages, and form in themselves quite a procession.
He is met outside of every settlement which he visits by a company of cavalry; and a little farther on, just outside the entrance to the town, he is met by another procession, - Sometimes of the children alone, but oftener, in the large settlements, where they are ambitious to do the thing up in shape, of the entire population who are able to turn out,
men, women, and children, headed by a brass band, all ranged along to give greeting to the Prophet. They are arranged in different sections, each section having its appropriate banner. The elderly and middle-aged men are all together under the banner "Fathers in Israel." The women of the same ages are ranged under their banner, "Mothers in Israel." The young men are proud enough of the inscription which theirs carries, "Defenders of Zion;" and he young girls are fresh and lovely under their banner, "The Daughters of Zion, - Virtue; " while the little wee bits. are placed last of all, are "The Hope of Israel." Other bear the inscriptions, "Hail to the Prophet;" "Welcome to our President; "God bless Brigham Young;" "The Lion of the Lord; " and others of a similar nature are seen along the line of the procession.
As the President and his escort pass down the long line, the band plays, the people cheer, men wave their hats, women their handkerchiefs, and the young girls and children toss bunches of flowers; and their Prophet - if he chances to be in a good humor - bows and smiles to them as he passes; and everything is gay, and bright, and merry, and the people are very happy because of the success of their Prophet's reception.
Now and then their gaiety has a dash of cold water from the object of all the display, and they see all their preparations go for nothing, and are made to feel that all their labor has been in vain, as happened not long ago in Salt Lake City. Brigham had been on a long trip through Southern Utah, endeavoring to establish the United Order of Enoch, with but indifferent success, it must be confessed, in consequence of which he was in anything but good humor with his "rebellious people."
On his return he was met at the station by thousands of his people, who had gathered in unusual numbers, and with unusual display, to meet him. As he stepped from the car, cheers arose from the mass of people, the band played, and all eyes were turned on him, anxiously watching for a recognition. What was their surprise and chagrin to see him step from the car to his carriage, enter it, close the door, and drive away with out the slightest notice of their presence, seemingly oblivious to everything about him!
The Saints returned to their homes feeling exceedingly hurt and grieved, but the next Sabbath their Prophet endeavored to soothe their outraged feelings and smooth matter's over with them, in the following "explanation:" -
"Brethren and sisters, you may have felt hurt at my not recognizing your greeting on my arrival. If so, I am sorry; but I had just had an attack of rheumatiz in my left foot."
The apology was accepted; there was nothing else to be done. The Prophet had made what he considered the proper amende, though some of the brethren were so irreverent as to remark afterwards that they "guessed the rheumatiz' was in his temper," on account of his failure to gull the people with his last "effort for their spiritual"- and his temporal - "advancement."
Usually he is in high good humor, and beams on his followers with the most patronizing and reassuring of smiles, accepting all the homage as though it were his by "divine" right. Royalty itself could assume no more the manner of receiving only what it is entitled to, than this ex-glazier, who used to work for "six bits" a day, and who begged the farmer for whom he had done two half days' work to give him a new coat, since his old one was too "rusty" to go on a preaching tour in, and the "spirit" had suddenly called him from the haying field to a Methodist meeting in the neighboring town.
While on his journeys, he is always taken to the best house in the place, and everything is done for his comfort; his followers are taken by other residents of the town, a dance is given in the evening, which takes the place of the usual "reception" elsewhere; he is serenaded by the bands and parties of singers, and all night the militia keep sentry about his headquarters. Altogether it is quite a gay thing to go visiting the settlements, and no one likes it better than the Prophet himself. It is the grand event of the year to the Saints, and they make such extensive preparations for the occasion, that many of them have to live very close, as they express it, for months afterwards.
As a matter of course, I helped welcome the President to Cottonwood: so did all the family; and, as we were all old friends, we were glad to see him personally, as well as spiritually, my mother especially being overjoyed, for there was always the warmest friendship between them; indeed, their friendship dated back to the days before they went to Kirtland. At Nauvoo they had been next door neighbors, and he used to be very fond of playing with the "baby." Since then he had helped the "baby" to escape from a domestic thraldom which was harder than she could endure, and she was grateful to him accordingly. I think neither mother nor daughter would have joined so heartily in the welcome, had they known what misery the visit was to bring.
The Sunday services are always largely attended, and as no house is sufficiently capacious to hold all who assemble to listen to the Prophet, the meetings are held in the "Bowery," which is a sort of improvised tabernacle, with open sides, and roofed over with branches of trees. He usually makes this the occasion for reprimanding the people for their sins, dwelling particularly on the extravagance of women in dress, and the habit, among some of the men, of whiskey-drinking. He came out very strong this time, and the poor Cottonwood Saints were exposed to a merciless fusillade from the Prophet's tongue. He was more than usually denunciatory and scathing, and he made this the occasion for abusing Mr. Howard, the owner of the distillery. After he had got
well warmed up, he said Howard had not a cent in the world which he had not given him, and added,
"I even gave the poor, mean scapegrace the very land he lives on."
This was more than Howard could bear, even from his Prophet, and he jumped to his feet, excitedly shouting, -
"It isn't so, and you know it isn't. I bought the land off you, and gave you twelve hundred dollars for it."
"You lie!" roared Brigham; "I gave it to you."
"Yes, for twelve hundred dollars," was Howard's reply.
"I never got a cent for it," screamed Brigham.
"You're the liar, and you know it," retorted Howard.
I don't know how long this Sabbath-day quarrel would have lasted, had not Brigham happened to think it was a little out of order, and also to discover that Howard, who was in a great rage by this time, was bound to have the last word. He stopped the dispute, and, turning to the congregation, said, -
"Is there no one who will remove that man from this place?"
Instantly ten or fifteen men started to their feet, and rushed towards the offender; but a man named Van Etten, being much nearer to him than any of the others, reached him first, and led him out of meeting; so there was no opportunity for any of the others to exercise their zeal in the Prophet's behalf. At the close of the services, Brigham publicly thanked Brother Van Etten, and called him "the only friend in the congregation."
The following Sabbath, the party were at Willow Creek holding meeting, and as what he was pleased to term " Howard's insult" was rankling in his memory, he could not refrain from referring to it in his sermon, which he did in the following truthful manner:-
"I was never so insulted in my life as I was at Cottonwood last Sabbath. I called seven or eight times for some of the brethren to lead Howard out, and not a man responded but Brother Van Etten. I know how it is; you and they are all bought with Howard's whiskey."
Now, the news of the encounter had reached Willow Creek before the Prophet and his party, and nearly every one present knew that Brigham had only called once for his opponent to be taken away, and that his call had been, promptly responded to. But they attributed his misstatement to the Prophet's bad memory. They knew, too, that none of them were bought with Howard's whiskey; but perhaps Brigham thought they were, and it was only "one of his slight mistakes;" so they let it go for what it was worth, and the Prophet felt better after venting his ill-temper.
It was soon after this that Howard was sent on the mission that has been referred to in a previous chapter. Van Etten's fortune was made from that moment. The Prophet's heart was full of blessings for him, and found vent in the following benediction : -
"The Lord will bless you, Brother Van Etten, for so nobly coming forward in my defence. You are the only man out of several thousand that paid any attention to the insults I received. I want you to understand that from this time I am your friend."
The Cottonwood Saints were very much surprised at Brigham's warmth, for Van Etten was well known as a worthless, dissipated character, and if Brother Brigham found any good in him, it was more than anyone else had succeeded in doing.
The Prophet and Van Etten were ever after bosom friends let the latter do what he would. Brigham would shield him from all difficulty. One instance of this protection of his protégé came directly under my notice. Van Etten stole a hundred sheep from my brother, who prosecuted him for it. When the trial came on, the evidence was as clear as possible against him; yet Brigham controlled the whole affair, and his "friend" was released. All who knew the facts concerning the case were astonished that even Brigham should do such a very unjust thing as to clear him; but at that time the Saints did not dare to criticise the Prophet's actions as they do now, and all they said was, "There probably is something good about Van Etten that Brigham has discovered
which we were unable to see."
Finally, the Prophet's intimate friend took several thousand head of sheep to herd for different parties, and a short time after, the owners heard that he had left the country; they went instantly to look after their sheep, but not a trace of them could they find. Van Etten, sheep and all, were gone, and they never returned again to the "Valley of Ephraim." It was afterwards found that he was in Canada; he also was in debt nine thousand dollars at the co-operative store - Brigham's pet institution. I never heard Brigham say whether he missed his friend or not; in fact, he never mentioned him after this last escapade.
I had noticed, during the morning service, that memorable Sunday at Cottonwood, that Brigham looked often at me; but I thought nothing more of it than that mine was a very familiar face, and consequently he was drawn towards it for that reason. Still there were others in the congregation that he knew; so mine was not the only face he looked at for recognition. I began to be a little uneasy under his scrutiny. I thought that possibly there was something about my appearance that displeased him. Possibly he did not approve of my dress. I knew he considered himself perfectly at liberty to criticise any sister's dress when he felt so inclined, and I did not know but I was to be the subject of his next outbreak. That he was not looking at me indifferently or carelessly I knew very well, from the bent brows and keen gaze that I felt was making the most complete scrutiny, and I wished he would look somewhere else. I fidgeted about in my seat, I looked at my little boy who was sitting beside me, and pretended to arrange some article of his clothing. I did everything but to jump up and run away, and I even wanted to do that, to get out of the reach of those sharp eyes, and that steady, unflinching gaze. I am sure he saw my discomfort; but he was pitiless, and all the while the speaking was going on he scarcely turned his eves from me a moment. I tried to be unconscious, to
look in every direction except his, but the steady eyes would always bring mine back again in spite of myself. I felt his power then as I never had felt it before, and I began to understand a little how it was that he compelled so many people to do his will, against their own inclinations. I learned the lesson better still subsequently.
After the services lie came up to me and greeted me very cordially. I was surprised, for he had been so ruffled over the Howard matter that I did not expect he would regain his spirits so easily.
"Are you well?" said he.
"As you see," I replied, laughing, and looking up at him.
"May I walk home with you?"
"If you wish; I should be much pleased," said I. I was pleased, too, for I knew that in bringing him home with me I should be conferring the greatest happiness on my mother. He took my little boy's hand, and led him along, and as he looked down at him, he said, -
"A pretty child. What are you going to do with him?"
"Make a good man of him, if possible," was my reply.
"A better one than his father proved to be. I trust."
"God grant it. else he will not be much of a comfort to me," said I, the tears starting to my eyes.
"You are very much improved since you left Mr. Dee," said he; "do you know it? You are a very pretty woman."
"Thank you." said I, laughing, yet embarrassed at this wholesale fashion of complementing; "if you can only tell me I am a good woman, I should like
"Yes, you are that, I believe, and a good mother; and you were a good wife, only that foolish fellow didn't have the sense to half appreciate you."
"Thank you again. I don't know that I can take all you tell me, since I am not sure that I deserve such high praise."
"You are your mother's girl; there can be but one conclusion to draw from that. But tell me about yourself; are you happy?"
"Very," said I, earnestly. "I never was happier in my life."
"What makes you specially happy just now?"
"0, my children, my mother, my quiet life, after all the trial and weary struggling to make the best out of the very worst."
"Then you don't regret your divorce?"
"Indeed I do not; and now, Brother Young, let me thank you for your kindness in helping me to regain my freedom, and above all to keep my children. You must be content with gratitude. for I can repay you in no other way."
He looked at me a moment; a peculiar smile flitted across his face; he opened his lips as if to say something; closed them again: looked at me more scrutinizingly than ever; turned away, and was silent for a moment. Then he asked me, quite abruptly, -
"I suppose you have had offers of marriage since your separation from Mr. Dee."
"Yes. many." I replied, answering his question very frankly, as I did not suspect that he had any motive in questioning me, except a friendly interest: and I was as honest in my confidences to him as I should have been with my father.
"Do you feel inclined to accept any of them?" was his next question.
"No. not in the slightest degree; none of them move me in the least."
"And you haven't a preference for any of the suitors?"
" I assure you, no."
"Never had the slightest inclination to say `yes' to any offer that has been made?"
"Not a bit of inclination; all my lovers have had a rival affection to contend with."
"For whom?" was the question quick and sudden, as if intending to take me by surprise by its abruptness.
I laid my hand on my boy's head. "For him, and for the other dear child that God gave me; I can have no room for other love while I have them to care for. They fill my heart exclusively, and I am so glad and happy because of it, that I should be jealous if I saw the least hint of regard for anyone creeping in. I couldn't love anybody else; I wouldn't."
"Then you think you will never be induced to marry?"
"Never in my life, I said, vehemently."
Brigham laughed a little, and replied, "I have heard a very great many girls talk that way before."
"Yes, but I am not a girl; I am a woman; a woman, too, with hard, bitter experiences; a woman who has lost faith in mankind, and hasn't much faith in matrimony; a mother, too, who will not give her children a rival."
"No, but you might give them a protector."
"They don't need it; my love is sufficient protection. Besides, they are boys, and will be my protectors in a few years. So, you see, I do not need to marry for protection for myself or them."
"But supposing it were shown to be a duty."
"It can't be. I should not recognize a duty of that kind. I consider myself old enough, and sufficiently experienced, to judge of my duties without any assistance."
He bent his eyes on me again with a keen, questioning look, and said, very kindly, "Child, child, I fear you are very headstrong. Don't let your will run away with you."
"No danger," I replied; "it is not crossed often enough to make it very assertive."
"A spoiled child, eh?"
"Possibly. My will seems to be everybody's way at home."
"Well, my child, I want to give you a little advice. I have known you all your life, and have had an interest in you from your birth. Indeed, you seem like one of my own family, you were always in and out so much with my children; and I am going to speak to you as I would to one of my girls. You will probably marry again, some time, though you say now you won't."
"No," I interrupted; "I shall not marry. I mean what I say when I tell you so."
"Yes, I know it; but you will; now mark my words, and see if you don't."
"Well, don't feel so sure that you send somebody after me," said I. slyly hitting him for his known propensity for "counselling the brethren to take certain
sisters as plural wives."
"You needn't be afraid of my sending anybody. I promise you I won't do that, was his answer."
"Good; then I shall not be obliged to say `no' to them, and so, perhaps, hurt your feelings as well as mortify them." said I.
"Still, I believe that you will marry again some time. It is in the nature of things that on should. Women of your age, and your looks, don't stay single all their lives; not a bit of it. Now, my advice is this when you do marry, select some man older than yourself. It doesn't make so much difference whether you're in love with him, if you can respect him and look up to him for counsel. Respect is better than romance, any day. You've tried the one, now give the other a chance. You didn't succeed so well with the other experiment that you care to try that over again. I know. You had your own way, too, if I
remember rightly. It wasn't such a smooth one as you thought it was going to be. I knew you was doing the wrong thing when I saw the man. I could have told you so, but you didn't ask my advice. Now I'm giving it to you without asking for I don't want you to make another mistake. So, when you choose again, remember what I say, and get a husband whom you can look to for good advice."
We had reached home by that time, and I thanked him for his interest, and promised to heed his advice if I found it necessary; but I was sure I should not, for I was firm in my determination not to marry.
I had no idea at all of Brigham's real object in thus sounding me, and drawing me out. It never occurred to me that he could want me for himself. I should just as soon have thought of receiving an offer of marriage from my own father, or to have heard that he (Brigham) was going to marry one of his own daughters. Then I knew, too, that there had been a great deal said in the outside world respecting the practice of polygamy among the Saints, and I thought, from conversations I had heard, that the United States Congress had taken some action in the matter, and that he, being the Head of the Church, was watched pretty closely by government officials. Then he was so old, - much older than my father, - that the thought, had it presented itself, would have
been scouted as absurd. I repeated the conversation to my mother, who seemed amused by it, but did not give any more serious thought to it than I had done.
Brigham was uncommonly jovial that day, and made himself particularly agreeable. He was unusually gracious to my father, revived old memories, and joked with my mother; petted and praised the children, and was very paternal in his manner to me. He showed himself, altogether, in his very best light, and made his visit very pleasant.
During the afternoon service he studied me in the same war that he had in the morning; and several times, when I caught his eye, he quite he looked amused. I supposed was thinking of our conversation at noon, and was much more at my ease than I had been in the early part of the day during the first service.
After service in the afternoon, Brigham told my father that he wished to see him on important business. They were closeted together for two hours, talking very earnestly. I supposed it had to do with church matters, as my father was one of the leading men in South Cottonwood, and had been so long a prominent member of the Mormon Church that it was by no means strange that Brigham had so much to say to him. I thought, possibly, they might be discussing the Howard affair; but beyond that I thought nothing. I certainly had no idea that I was the subject under discussion; that my future was being planned for me without any regard to my will in the matter. Had I known it, I should by no means have gone about my duties with such a light heart, nor
frolicked so gaily with my children.
At the end of the two hours my mother was called into the room, and the discussion was resumed. After a short time all came out. Brigham went away, bidding us all good-bye with much cordiality, and with an added impressiveness in his manner towards me.
When he had gone, my father told me the subject of their long conversation.
Brigham Young had proposed to him for me as a wife.
HOW BRIGHAM YOUNG FORCED ME TO MARRY HIM.
Brigham's Offer of Marriage. - I think the Prophet too Old. - My Parents are Delighted with the Honor. - They to Persuade Me. - Very Obstinate. - Arguing the Matter. - How Brigham Found Means to influence Me. - My Brothers get into Trouble. - The Prophet and the Telegraph-Poles. - He takes a Nice Little Contract. - Then Sells it to his Son. - Bishop Sharp makes a Few Dollars out of It. - My Brother Engages in the Work. - He Becomes Involved in Debts and Difficulties. - Brigham Threatens to Cut Him Off for Dishonesty. - My Mother Tries to Excuse Him. - Hemmed In on All Sides, I Determine to Make One Last Appeal. - I fail, and Consent to Marry Him.
I rose to my feet shocked beyond expression.
I looked from my father to my mother, hoping that they were merely jesting with me; for I had no idea that what they told me could be true; it was too monstrous an absurdity. But the expression of their faces did not reassure me. I saw that they were in earnest; that it was true; and I burst out into a passionate fit of weeping.
My mother came to me, and took my hand and caressed it in her own, and my father tried to reassure me. "Why, my dear, what is the matter? Are you crying because the Head of our Church - the most powerful and influential man among us - has made you an offer of marriage? Why, it is nothing to cry about, surely."
But I felt that it was something to cry over - something, indeed, over which to shed the bitterest tears that could be wrung from my heart's deepest anguish. I felt outraged, betrayed; to think, after our conversation that very day, - but a very few hours before, when I had told him frankly my reluctance and abhorrence at the very idea of marrying again, that he should go deliberately and propose for me, showed a lack of delicacy and consideration which greatly surprised me. It was quite evident that he looked upon my assertions as girlish affectation that a good offer would speedily overcome. He was so confident of his success with the women he chose to woo, that he had no idea of meeting any settled opposition. He had, as I afterwards learned, no conception of feminine delicacy or sensitiveness; laughed at it as ridiculous, and called the women who exhibited it "sentimental fools." I had nothing to hope from his mercy, but I did not know it then. When my first passion of grief had spent itself, I turned to my father, still holding my mother's hand, and said,-
"What answer did you make him?"
"I told him that I would lay the proposition before you, and tell him what your decision was. He said that he had talked with you on the subject of marriage, and that you told him no one had proposed for you whom you fancied; that he was glad you were not easily pleased and suited with every new-corner, for he intended to place you in a position where you would be vastly the social superior of all your present lovers."
"Didn't he tell you that I said I never should marry again? that my life was to be devoted to my children?"
"Yes; he said you mentioned something of that sort, but that he didn't take any stock in it; all girls talked so; it was their way of playing the coquette; he understood it, and he liked you better for your coyness."
"I told him decidedly," I replied, "that I was a girl no longer, but a woman, who knew her own mind, who had arrived at the ability to make her own decisions through terrible suffering; that the thought of marriage was distasteful to me. I wonder if he needs to be told more plainly? If so, you may go to him, since you told him you should leave the decision with me, and tell him that I say to him, No, as I have said it to all my other suitors, and that I do not even thank him for the position he intended to confer upon me, for he knew I did not want it. Does he think I have escaped one misery to wish to enter another? `Position!' I wonder what he thinks there is particularly fine about being a plural wife even to Brigham Young? I have not seen so much happiness in the system, even among his wives, that I care to enter it. And I never, never can.
My father interrupted me. "You are excited, now, my daughter. Be calm, and think the matter over reasonably. Don't decide in this hasty manner."
"I might think it over, reasonably, as you call it, for the rest of my life, and the conclusion I should arrive at would be the same. I never will, of my free will and accord, marry Brigham Young; and you might as well tell him so at once, and have the matter settled."
"But, my dear child, said my mother, stroking my hair fondly, and looking at me with anxious eyes, "suppose it was your duty?"
"0, mother, mother! have you turned against me, too? Am I to fight you all, single-handed, alone? Won't you, at least, stand by me?"
"I would, gladly, my only, my darling daughter, if I was sure that it would be right."
"Do you doubt the right of it? Can you doubt it? Or do you think it would not be wrong to stifle all natural feelings, all aversion to another union, above all, to him? Would it be right, do you think, to give myself to a man older than my father, from whom I shrink with aversion when I think of him as my husband, who is already the husband of many wives, the father of children older, by many years, than myself?"
"But he is your spiritual leader."
"That is no reason why he should be my earthly husband. I cannot see what claim that gives him to my affection."
"The doctrines of our church teach you to marry."
"Do you want to get rid of me?" I asked, suddenly, raising my head and looking her full in the face. I dared not enter into religious discussion with her, for I felt so bitterly that I should be sure to say some thing to shock her; and then I knew that, in argument, I should be fairly worsted; so I made my appeal on personal grounds, and touched her heart, as I was sure I should. She threw both arms about me, and sobbed as violently as I had done.
"You know I do not. How can you say that? I was only saying what I did, because I thought it was for your own good here and hereafter. Did I consult my own feelings, no one should have you except myself; but I think of your welfare before my selfish desires.
"0, mother, I can't, I can't," I cried in a sudden agony, as the thought of all such a marriage involved, rushed across me.
"Don't fret so, child," said my father, speaking for the first time since my mother had joined in the conversation. "I will tell Brother Brigham how you feel, and perhaps he will give up the idea. But he seemed to have set his heart on it, and I don't know how he'll take it."
"Why, I belong to you, father. Tell him so, and that you can't give me away to anybody."
My father smiled a little at me, grew grave again, and went away.
He told Brigham how averse I was; and he only laughed, and said I should get over it, if I only had time. He would not give me up, but he would not hasten matters; he would leave me in my parents' hands, and he hoped they would induce me to listen favorably to his proposals. The last remark was made with a peculiar emphasis and a sinister smile, which every Saint who had had dealings with him knew very well, and whose meaning they also knew. It meant. "Do as I command you, or suffer the weight of my displeasure." He sent a message to me, which, though seemingly kind, contained a covert threat; and I began to feel the chains tightening around me already. I felt sure that I could not free myself, bat I would struggle to the end.
Thus began a year of anguish and torture. I fought against my fate in every possible way. Brigham was equally persistent, and he tried in every way to win me, a willing bride, before he attempted to coerce me. He told my parents, and myself, too, that he had always had great interest in me, and had intended to propose for me so soon as I was old enough; that when he sent for me to the theatre, and proposed my being at the Lion House, it was that I might become familiar with the place and its inmates, and so not feel strange when he should bring me there as a wife. It had been his intention to have proposed for me then; but he had just married Amelia, and it had made such a hue-and-cry among the Gentiles, especially as he had taken her directly in the face of the late congressional law against polygamy, that he did not think it wise to add another to the list just then; so he said nothing of his intentions, and before he knew anything of my engagement, I was ready to be married. It was a great shock to him; but as matters had gone so far, and as he was in such a questionable position before the government, he thought it best not to interfere, as he most assuredly would, had he known my intentions earlier. Now I was free, and he was at liberty to tell me, what he had wanted to tell me long before, that he loved me.
Finding that this declaration of affection failed to move me, he tried another tack. He asked my father if a house and a thousand dollars a year would make me comfortable, as he wished to settle something on me when I married him, taking for granted that I should do so.
My mother and father both favored his suit, and labored with me to induce me to view it in the same light. Brigham was our spiritual guide; it might be that in refusing him I should lose all hopes of future salvation. That was my mother's plea. My father's was, that Brigham was able to hurt him pecuniarily. And then came my oldest brother, who added his influence in Brigham's favor by telling me that Brigham had it in his power to ruin him, and was very angry with him, and had threatened to "cut him off from the church," which was, to a person in his position, the very worst thing that could happen.
The trouble between them was of Brigham's own making, and I will give it, as briefly as I can, to show how Brigham managed to get everything out of his people without paying for it, and, at the same time, show the amount of honor which he has in business matters.
In 1860 the first telegraph line was extended from the Atlantic States to the Pacific, passing through Salt Lake City. Feramorz Little, a nephew of the President, took a contract to furnish about one hundred and fifty miles of poles, at three dollars each. According to Brigham's statement, Little was unable to fill the contract until the Prophet came to the rescue, and secured three dollars and a quarter each. by furnishing one hundred miles of sawed poles, although, in truth, the sawed timber was not so good as common round poles.
Six years later, a rival company commenced putting up a new line. Brigham negotiated for a contract, and succeeded in securing nearly eight hundred miles, - extending from Denver City westward, - at the very gratifying price of eight dollars a pole. It is very generally believed that Brigham and one of the new company had a previous understanding to divide the profits on this magnificent job.
He then sub-let the whole contract to Bishop John Sharp and Joseph A. Young. - his eldest son, who has recently died, - at three dollars a pole; and my brother Gilbert took about four hundred and fifty miles - from Green River to Denver - at the very reason able price of two dollars and a half a pole. He was then the owner of ten freight wagons, with six mules to each wagon; but, in order to fill his contract, he found himself compelled to purchase six additional teams, at a cost of seven thousand dollars, which, with tools, provisions, and general outfit, increased the sum to nearly eleven thousand dollars, which he was obliged to borrow, paying a very heavy interest - five per cent. a month; but that, of course, was his own fault, not the Prophet's.
Brigham was anxious to have the work done immediately, - which is not at all strange when one remembers that he would make five dollars on each pole, - and he had sent for my brother, and urged him to take the job, telling him that he knew of no one so suitable, for Gilbert had such a fine business reputation; adding that he was certain that the blessing of God would rest upon him, for it was His will that all the Saints should accumulate riches. After all this, and very much more talk of the same kind, Gilbert was induced to take the contract, my father giving security for the borrowed money.
My brother left Salt Lake City with his outfit as early as the snow would permit him to cross the mountains. When he had got his wagons loaded with poles for the first time, Brigham telegraphed for him to stop work and return to the city. He immediately complied with the order, and found, on his arrival, that there was a prospect of the new company compromising with the old, and putting up no line. They now, desired to buy off all contracts. Brigham would clear on the contract one hundred thousand dollars, if the line was put up, and of course could compromise for no less. Sharp and Joseph A. wanted forty thousand dollars, and my brother ten thousand, if they gave up the contract. Brigham said that, in justice, Gilbert ought to have twenty thousand dollars, to pay the expenses of the delay, &c.
Of course it was cheaper to put up the line than to compromise at this cost, and he returned to his work, having lost twelve days. His expenses at this time were about one hundred dollars a day. He had thirty men employed, at sixty dollars a month and their board, and he also had grain to furnish for one hundred mules. Brigham promised to pay for all this delay, but as usual he failed to do so.
My brother than began to furnish the poles, and succeeded in delivering about twenty-five miles a week. For two months he received his pay quite regularly, and everything went on swimmingly. When he was about one hundred miles from Denver, having completed about three hundred and fifty miles, he was sent for to give up his contract on the eastern line, and take a contract on the northern line instead. That was between Utah and Montana. Gilbert was much averse to the change, as he had finished the most difficult portion of his work, and passed through where the timber is the least accessible. But Brigham insisted, and wrote, promising to make it all right with him if he would come back, and go up north, and furnish one hundred miles or more of poles. Finally he sent Joseph A. down to my brother, who succeeded in persuading him to return.
While on his way back, he met Mr. E. Creighton, the superintendent of the line, with a company of men, setting the poles which he had furnished. Being desirous of giving thorough satisfaction, he sent Mr. Lorenzo Ensign, with three teams, loaded with good poles, to exchange for any poor timber which did not satisfy. Those teams continued with the pole-setters until Mr. Creighton sent them back, remarking that he did not find it necessary to change one pole a day, and that he was entirely satisfied with the timber. I mention this because Brigham afterwards said that the contract was not well filled, and made this an excuse for not paying my brother. Those three teams remained with the pole-setters about four weeks, and, as I before said, were dismissed by one of the owners of the line.
Gilbert returned home in August, and, on starting for the north, Joseph A. asked him to set the poles that he should furnish on the Montana line, at the same time agreeing to pay him a dollar apiece for setting, and three dollars for the poles. That was fifty cents more than he received on the eastern line, but it would scarcely pay him for a move of six hundred miles, to a country where timber was in very high mountains and rough cañons.
Removing from the east of course broke the original contract; but as Gilbert had all the confidence in the world in the word of Brigham and of Joseph A., he neglected to make a new written agreement. After he had furnished the poles for about one hundred miles, my younger brother who was farming at the time - took his team, and, after hiring six men, went to set the poles, paying his men two dollars a day and their board. They worked four weeks, for which they never received one dollar.
When my youngest brother was about leaving for home, Gilbert gave him an order on Sharp and Young for one thousand dollars. While Gilbert was in the East he had sent orders for money every month for my youngest brother to collect and disburse. Those orders were promptly paid, and he had no thought that this one would not be paid as promptly. He called at Brigham's office, and presented the order, and was curtly informed by Brigham that he must "hunt up Sharp and Joseph A."
On inquiring for their office, it could not be found. The day following he chanced to meet Bishop Sharp, who referred him to Joseph A. He called at the latter's residence three times without seeing him; finally, four days after, my brother succeeded in meeting him in his father's office. He was told to sit down in the outer room, where he was left alone for two hours; then he was called into the private office, and told that there was no money for him.
"But," said he to Brigham and Joseph A., "I must have the money; I have ten men who have already been waiting five days for their pay, and I am still paying them, or am under obligation to do so, and their board in the city also; and none of this can be done without money."
After a little more consultation Brigham said, "We can give you a draft on New York, which you can cash with some of the bankers or merchants in the city."
My brother then asked for time to inquire on what terms he could cash the draft; but was told that merchants would often pay a percentage on such paper, and that it was always as good as money. He then asked, if he was obliged to have it discounted, if Sharp and Young would lose the amount, but was told that he need not be so particular, for he must take the draft or nothing, since they had no money. He took it then, as he saw very plainly that they did not intend to give him anything else, and presented it to every banker and merchant in Salt Lake City, but could find no one who would take it. On a second call at Walker Brothers', he succeeded in cashing it at three per cent discount. Meeting Joseph A. afterwards, he told him he should charge him
with the thirty dollars. Joe replied, "All right; yet neither he nor Gilbert ever received another dollar from them, though they were in the boys' debt two thousand dollars.
When Gilbert returned from the North he found it difficult to pay his men, and also to meet his other expenses. He spent the winter trying to get his pay, during which my younger brother. Edward, took the teams and went to California for freight, hoping by that means to save Gilbert from bankruptcy. The trip not proving successful, the spring of '67 opened very dark for us financially. Gilbert saw no way but to sell his teams. I remember his coming home one night, feeling extremely dejected, and telling us he had sold sixteen of his best mules for less than half the amount he had paid for them, and expected the remainder to go at a still lower price.
In the spring of 1868 he was forced into bankruptcy by Captain Hooper, one of his principal creditors. This same Captain William H. Hooper had the good fortune to be one of the Prophet's favorites, although he was by no means a Mormon at heart, and Brigham knew it; still, as he liked him, and as Hooper made sufficient pretence to pass for one, it was all right.
When Gilbert delivered up his papers to the assignees, they readily discovered a large indebtedness on the part of Sharp and Young. At a meeting of the creditors. Brigham, who took the responsibility of the whole affair, undertook to have everything his own way, and, as my younger brother remarked, "literally rode over the whole company rough-shod." Among other statements, he said, -
"Gilbert Webb's poles were many of them condemned," which was utterly false. He then said he had never written to Gilbert while he was East. In face of this the letter was produced and read before the company. He then said he was sure he had no recollection of it, and asked George Q. Cannon - who was his clerk at that time-if he remembered it. Cannon replied that he believed he did. Previous to this. when Gilbert saw that he must lose everything, he considered it his duty to pay off his men, also to pay the notes which my father had signed, and to save him from utter ruin. At this Brigham's rage knew no bounds; he wanted Hooper to have his pay first. One of Gilbert's creditors was a Mr. Kerr, a Gentile banker, whom he paid without consulting the Prophet, which greatly enraged him. In speaking of it to my mother, he manifested all the growling propensities of an old "cur;" saying that Gilbert had paid all the
notes due to Gentiles, and left his friend Hooper to take his chance with the rest of the creditors, and he intended to disfellowship him for it.
This was when he was "counselling" my parents to use their influence with me in his behalf.
"If you do that, Brother Young," said my mother, I shall find it very hard to forgive you; although Gilbert may have erred in judgment, he designed to do right. Would you, President Young, like to have his father ruined in the crash? The notes held by Mr. Kerr were signed by him." He said, "If his father signed the notes, he ought to pay them."
"Well," replied my mother, with considerable spirit, "if Gilbert had been paid for his work, he would have been able to have paid all his debts."
He was very angry at this, and said, "What do you know about business, I'd like to know?"
"I know enough to know when my children are ill-used and cheated. Brigham Young," said she, quickly. "I wonder how you would like to have one of your sons cut off from the church, and treated in the manner in which you have treated Gilbert."
"I should think it perfectly right if one of my boys had done wrong and needed punishment." Yet it is well known that there are no more unprincipled men in the Territory than his eldest sons; but there never have been the slightest signs of their being disfellowshipped.
After a still more spirited contest with my mother, the Prophet took his departure in a great rage, saying he should see if "Gilbert would pay his Gentile debts in preference to paying the brethren."
All this was for the purpose of influencing me, and I saw that I must yield. There was nothing but ruin in store for us if I persisted in my refusal. The loss of property was by no means so dreadful a thing to my brother - brought up to believe that there was no salvation outside of Mormonism - as being cut off from the church and receiving the Prophet's curse, and he was heart-broken at the prospect.
I made up my mind to make one last appeal myself to Brigham Young, and see if I could not touch his heart and induce him to resign his claims to me, and not to punish my family because I could not bring myself to become his wife. I was sure that I could move him. I would make myself so humble, so pathetic, before him. I would do all I could to serve him. I would never forget his kindness to me; but I could not marry him without bringing great unhappiness upon myself. I should also fail to bring happiness or comfort to him. I would be so eloquent that he could not refuse to listen to me.
I went up to the city to visit a friend, quite determined to make this appeal to him, but my courage failed me. Two or three times I started to call to see him, but I would only get in sight of his office, and turn back faint and trembling. One day I saw him coming towards me in the street, and I determined to screw up my courage and speak to him. But when I reached him my tongue refused to speak the words, and I only faltered out a common-place greeting. All my eloquence was frozen under the chilling glance of the steely-blue eyes, which had not a ray of sympathetic warmth in them. No one who has ever been under his peculiar influence but will understand me when I say that in his presence I was powerless. My will refused to act, and I went away from him, knowing that I never could say to him what I felt.
I returned home, feeling, more than ever, that my doom was fixed. My religion, my parents - everything was urging me on to my unhappy fate, and I had grown so tired with struggling that I felt it was easier to succumb at once than to fight any longer. I began, too, to be superstitious about it; I did not know but that I was fighting the will of the Lord as well as the will of the Prophet, and that nothing but disaster would come as long as I was so rebellious. The thought struck me, in a sudden terror, What if God should take my children, to punish my rebellious spirit? It was agony. "Not my will, but thine," was my heart-broken cry, - more desperate than resigned, however. - and I went to my mother and told her that I had decided. I would become the wife of
MY MARRIAGE WITH BRIGHAM YOUNG. - HOW THE OTHER
WIVES RECEIVED ME.
The Prophet Rejoices at my Yielding. - My Family Restored to Favor. - The Webbs Reconstructed. - My Prophet-Lover Comes to See Me. - He Goes Courting on the Sly,
for Fear of Amelia. - We are Married Secretly in the Endowment-House. - I am Sent Home Again. - Brigham Establishes me in the City. - Limited Plates and Dishes. - We
Want a Little More Food. - The Prophet's "Ration-Day." - How the Other Wives Received Me. - Mrs. Amelia Doesn't Like Me. - How the Wives of the Prophet Worry and Scold Him. - The Prophet Breaks his Word. - My Father Remembers the Thousand Dollars.
My acceptance of his suit was carried to him at once, and he was triumphant, although he did not show it, except by an added suavity of manner, and a disposition to make jokes, which, of course, everyone was expected to laugh at as heartily as he did himself.
My family were restored to favor, although my brother did not receive his money; and everything "went merry as a marriage-bell" for everybody, except myself. I had promised to marry him, but I was not resigned. I still fought against it, but the conflict now was all internal. I did not dare admit anyone to my confidence, not even my mother. So I had to struggle alone with my impending fate, all the time suffering the stings of conscience as well; for I thought I must be terribly wicked to fight so hard against what was represented to me as the direct will of God; and, what was worse, I
could not pray for forgiveness, for I could not give up my feeling of desperate rebellion.
I had an early visit from my affianced husband, and during that visit he told me his plans. We were to be married very secretly, as, he said, he wished to keep the matter quiet for a while, for fear of the United States' officials. I found out afterwards, however, that it was fear of Amelia, for she had raised a furious storm a few months before; when, as I previously said, he married Mary Van Cott, to whom, by the way, he was paying his addresses while he was wooing me, and he did not dare so soon encounter another such domestic tornado.
He was very anxious to have the affair over as soon as possible; so we were married the 7th of April, 1869, at the Endowment-House. Heber C. Kimball performed the ceremony, and I was the wife of the head of the Mormon Church; the turbulent, passionate, shrewd, illiterate, strangely powerful man, who was the object of interest both in America and Europe; who was regarded with a strange, curious interest by outsiders; who was dreaded by his own people, and who ruled them with an absolute sway. I little thought into what publicity this new relationship would bring me.
After the ceremony was over, Brigham took me back to my mother's house, where I was to remain for the present, until he should deem it prudent to let Amelia and the United States government know that I was his wife. Before our marriage, he had given me some very pretty dresses, and a small sum of money, as a wedding-gift; but I never got such a present again afterwards. After I had been his wife three weeks, he made me his first call; stayed a few minutes, and then went away. A few days after, he came and asked me to go to drive with him. I went, and he took me round all the by-ways where he would see few or no people, and where he thought there would be no danger that Amelia would hear of it. He did not enjoy the drive one bit, for he was in constant terror lest he should be discovered. He was anxious and distrait; while I, on the contrary, was in the highest spirits. I laughed and chatted, and made myself as pleasant as possible. I could afford to do it, for he was suffering all those torments for my sake, and although he had no idea that I discovered his fears, I did very readily, and was jubilant in proportion to his misery. I didn't feel specially complemented, to be sure; but, as I did not desire his attentions, and was happier without them, I did not allow my pride to receive a very severe wound, but was exceedingly gracious to him, the more nervous and absorbed he got.
I remained at home about a month, during which time, he said, he was having a house prepared for me in the city. I saw but little of him during that time, and sometimes I would almost forget that he had any claim upon me. Then I was happy indeed; but the thought would force itself through everything, and I would become saddened again. During the year of struggle, I had lost my health again, and I was by no means the light-hearted, bright-eyed woman he had looked at so intently that memorable Sunday at Cottonwood. I had grown thin and languid, and had lost all interest in life, except in my children. I should not have thought that I would have proved sufficiently attractive to have made him persevere so in his determination to marry me. But I believe that, at the last, he was influenced entirely by pique and wilfulness. He would have his own way, and, after that, it was little matter what came.
At last he came to me, and told me that he was ready for me to move into the city, and invited my mother to come and live with me - an offer which she accepted, because she did not wish to be separated from me, and not because she had no home of her own, or was at all dependent upon him for support. He had wanted me to go to the Lion House to live; but on that point I was decided. I would stay at my father's house, but I would not go there; so he had made a home for me in the city. Such a home as it was A little house, the rent of which would have been extremely moderate had it been a hired
house, furnished plainly, even meanly, when the position of the man whose wife was to occupy it was considered. It was the very cheapest pine furniture which could be bought in the city, and the crockery was dishes that Brigham had left when he sold the Globe bakery. There were very few of these, and they were in various stages of dilapidation. My carpet was an old one, taken from the Lion House parlor, all worn out in the centre, and, it being a large room, I took the out edges and pieced out enough to cover two rooms, and the other floors were bare. I had no window curtains of any sort, and there being no blinds to the house, I had to hang up sheets to keep people from looking in.
I told him several times that I was insufficiently supplied but for a long time be made some excuse or other for not giving me more. At last he sent me a very few additional ones; so that, although there was still a lack of what I actually needed, I managed to get along by a great deal of contriving.
We lived very sparely, even poorly, as did most of the wives, except the favorite, and one or two others, who asserted their rights to things, and got them after a great deal of insisting. I could not insist, and so I got very little. As I made little or no fuss, and rarely complained to him, he took advantage of my quiet tongue, and imposed upon me fearfully. He said, up to the very last of my living with him, that I was the least troublesome of any wife he had ever had; and he should have added, the least expensive, for he spent but very little money for me.
I began to find out, very soon, what a position a neglected wife has, and my heart ached and longed for freedom. The thraldom was worse than I had fancied, for I supposed that I should, at least, have had the comforts of life, such as I had been accustomed to; but I was disappointed even in that. Then I felt that I was bound to this kind of existence for life. There was no escape from it. I was shut in by every circumstance, as by a wall of adamant, and the more I struggled to get free, the worse I should be hurt. There was nothing to do but simply to endure; to die if I could, to live if I must. A pleasant state of mind, surely, for a bride of a few months.
The principal meat which he furnished to us was pork; we had it on all occasions. Very rarely, indeed, we had a piece of beef; but months would elapse between his times of sending it, and we got to look upon it as a very great luxury. He had what he called "Ration-Day" once a month, when the different families were given out their allowance for the month. This allowance for each family was five pounds of sugar, a pound of candles, a bar of soap, and a box of matches. I found this entirely inadequate, and so part of the time - unheard-of liberality ! - I was allowed to draw sugar twice a month. Our bread we had from the Prophet's bakery. Once in six months his clerk got a few of the commonest necessaries of life, and each of us had a few yards of calico, and a few yards of both bleached and unbleached muslin.
I could not get anything else out of him, except by the hardest labor, and the little that I got was given so grudgingly that I hated myself for accepting it; and many a time I would have thrown the pitiful amount back in his face, but stern necessity would compel me to accept the money and overlook the insult. I can scarcely look back to those times, now that I am so far beyond them, without a lowering of my self-respect; the hot blood tingles to the very ends of my fingers as I recall the insults I received from that man while I was his wife, and the utter powerlessness of my situation, that would not let me resent them.
When my marriage to him was known by the other wives, as it was on my removal to the city, he took me to the Lion House, to visit the family there. I was very kindly received by most of them, Emmeline Free and Zina Huntington being especially my friends. Two of them, however, - Eliza Burgess and Harriet Cook, - would not speak to me.
The latter had been a servant in my mother's family in Nauvoo, and Brigham had, indeed, married her from our house. She used to take care of me when I was a baby, and she was so angry when she heard that Brigham had married me, that she wished with all her heart that she had choked me when she had a good chance; that she certainly would had she known what my future was to be. Eliza Burgess, though not time first, and never a favorite wife, used to be terribly exercised whenever Brigham added another to the family. She would go about, crying bitterly, for days, and would sometimes shut herself up in her room, refusing to see anyone. Her sorrow was the joke of the family, since no member of it could see what reason she had for indulging in
it. She had but just got over mourning his alliance with Mary Van Cott, when she was called upon to grieve over his union with me.
She knew me perfectly well, as she had been an inmate of the Lion House for some years, and used to see me constantly the winter I was at the theatre, and spent so much of my time there; but on the occasion of my first visit after my marriage, she utterly ignored my presence, and would neither look at me nor speak to me. Of course I noticed it, and I knew the reason very well. I had no hard feelings towards her, for I knew her suffering was genuine. She got no attention from her husband, and her starved heart cried out for the love that was lavished on others.
After I had gone, one of the wives - Aunt Zina, I think it was - asked why she did not speak to Ann-Eliza.
"0," she said, "I will by-and-by, when I feel like it."
I was in and out several times, and yet Eliza preserved the same demeanor towards me, until one morning she astonished me by coming up abruptly and saying, "Good morning."
I answered her greeting, and she went away as suddenly as she came, but evidently quite satisfied with herself. She "felt like it," I presume; had grown more reconciled to my position in the family; and was willing to recognize me as a member of it.
My first encounter with Amelia was somewhat amusing. It happened not long after my marriage. She had not got over her anger at her lord for taking Mary Van Cott, - of whom, by the way, she was terribly jealous, - when fuel was added to the fire of her fury by my introduction to the world as another Mrs. Young. She was terribly bitter towards us both, though I think she hated Mary with a more deadly hatred than she felt for me. I think she considered Mary her most dangerous rival, but for all that she was not drawn towards me at all. It was not that she disliked me less, but Mary more.
I was walking one day with a friend, and we were on our way to the gardens which join the Prophet's residence, which are, by the way, the very finest in the city. Amelia was just in front of us, and she evidently judged from our conversation where we were going to. She kept just about so far in front of us, taking no notice of me at all until she reached the garden gate, when she went in, shut it with a slam, and called out, -
"There, madam! I'd like to see you get in now."
I made no answer, but reaching through the gate, I managed, with the assistance of my friend, to open the gate and go in. We passed Amelia as she stood examining a plant, and as we passed her we did not discontinue our conversation, but kept on laughing merrily over some girlish reminiscences which we had recalled while on the way. In a few minutes more we heard her scolding the head gardener fearfully. As we returned, I stopped where the old man was, and said, -
"What is the matter, Mr. Leggett?"
"0," said he, "it is Mrs. Amelia. Did you hear her scolding me just now? Wasn't she just awful? She's that mad because you came in, that she had to let out on somebody, and I suppose I came the handiest. But ain't she a master hand to scold, though? Why you'd ought to hear her give it to me sometimes. I'm pretty well used to it, and don't mind very much. It's some consolation to think that Brother Brigham gets it worse than I do, and when he's round, I'm safe."
Just once, after that, Amelia spoke to me. It is customary, on Brother Brigham's birthday, for the wives to have a dinner in his house. It is held at the Lion House, and all the family assemble to do honor to its head. At one of these dinners Amelia sat directly opposite me, and during the dessert she reached the cake-basket to me, and with as freezing a tone and manner as she could assume, asked, -
"Will you have some cake?"
I declined, and that ended our conversation - the last, and indeed the only one I ever had with her, for the first encounter could scarcely be called a "conversation," since the talking was all on one side.
She was even ruder to Mary Van Cott than to me. One day, while Brigham was furnishing Mary's house, he had taken her up to the family store in his carriage, to select some articles which she needed for her housekeeping. They had finished making their selections, and were just preparing to enter the carriage, when Amelia came sailing down upon them. She took in the position of affairs at once, and stepping directly between the Prophet and Mary, elbowed them out of the way, got into the carriage, slammed the door, and ordered the driver to carry her home. The coachman hesitated a moment, looked at Brother Brigham, who never said a word; then at Mary, who was furious at the insult, but showed it only by her flashing eves and deepening
color' then back to Amelia, who scowled at him, and repeated, "Home, I say," and started off, leaving the two standing together. They walked home, and Brother Brigham had a nice time after it. Amelia treated him to a lecture longer and stronger than usual, not sparing her rival in the least, but calling her every sort of name she could think of that was not complementary in character, and threatening her recreant lord with all sorts of torments if he went out with that "shameless creature" again; while Mary felt so outraged by Amelia's act, and Brigham's cowardice in not resenting it, that he was obliged to use all his finesse to appease her wrath.
This carriage episode reminds me of something that occurred in George Q. Cannon's family. This family is no more united than many others in Utah, and they have occasional disputes among themselves, which are not always settled in the most amicable manner. At one time, two of his wives wanted the carriage at once. They would not use it together, and neither one would give up to the other. In the struggle to get possession of it, a sort of free fight ensued. Blows were exchanged, hair pulled, fingernails used indiscriminately, and one of the women lost off her dress in the contest. I think that the "apostolic" husband fails to mention these little domestic scenes in Washington, when he is expatiating there upon the beauties of Mormonism, and the
peace and unity of the people in the Territory.
I must say that such scenes of violence do not often occur in Brigham's family, as most of his wives feel the dignity of their position too much to allow the world to see any disagreement between them, even when it exists. There are some very fine women among the Prophet's wives - women that, outside of Mormonism, would grace any social circle. Educated, cultivated women, who by some strange circumstance have been drawn, first into the church, then into the Prophet's harem. I think nothing better shows the peculiar power which Brigham Young possesses, than a look at the women who are and who have been his wives. Ignorant as he is, coarse and vulgar as he is, he has at least succeeded in winning women of refinement, of delicate sensibilities, as
wives; and in many cases it has been done without the slightest attempt at coercion on his part. He had the shrewdness to select such women, and the power to win them, but he has not the ability to appreciate them and I have no hesitation in saying, from my own experience with and knowledge of them, that more unhappy and wretched women do not exist in the world, than the more cultured and delicate wives of Brigham Young. These women are rarely his favorites, and it is a mystery why he took them, unless it was that he might "add to his glory," and swell his kingdom.
I was always treated very kindly by the other wives, with one or two exceptions, and I have the pleasantest and kindest recollections of them all. Most of them I had known from my childhood, and they were old and intimate friends of my mothers; and I have no doubt, had they dared to have done so, they would have expressed open sympathy for me in my trials, and I am sure in their hearts they respect me for the step I have taken, and would like to find a way of retreat for themselves if it were possible.
My husband called to see me at my new residence whenever he could find opportunity, which was not very often, and he repeated the drive, which was no more comfortable for him than the first one had been. I did not care especially about it, and was glad when I got home. With the exception of those drives, I never went anywhere with him alone for, with the exception of Amelia, and occasionally Emmeline, - which occasions constantly grew rarer, - he never went with only one wife, but took two or more.
The first winter that I was married to him, the Female Relief Society, to which I then belonged, gave a ball, and all the ladies were to invite the gentlemen. I ventured to ask Brother Young. He was my husband, and whom else should I invite? He accepted my invitation, apparently with much pleasure, and arranged to call for me on the appointed evening to take me to the hall. He was punctual to his appointment, but when he arrived he was accompanied by another wife. I suppose he knew the fact of his being at the ball would be reported to Amelia, and that she would be very angry if he went with me alone. I was very much annoyed at the circumstance, and really a little hurt that he could not take me somewhere just once without someone else along. I said nothing, however, and was as cordial to the other wife as I should have been had she accompanied him at my express invitation.
I never learned to hate anything in my life as I did the word "economy," while I was Brigham Young's wife. It was thrown at me constantly. I never asked for the smallest necessary of life that I was not accused of extravagance and a desire to ruin my husband, and advised to be more economical. I had a mind to reply, several times, that I did not see how I could be, without denying myself everything, and literally going without anything to eat or to wear. I held my tongue, however, and possessed my soul in patience. I was, in fact, a perfect Griselda; and my husband had got so used to such unquestioning obedience and submission from me that I think he never was so surprised in his life as he was when I rebelled. I am sure he would have expected rebellion from any or all of his wives sooner than from me. And I am quite sure that he was no more surprised than I was.
Before our marriage he had professed a great interest in my boys, and had promised to do many things for them. I had counted very much on his assistance in training them, but as soon as I was really married to him he seemed to forget all his promises. He looked upon my children as interlopers, and treated them as such. He scolded me for spending so much time and money on them; he would allow them to wear only clothes of home-spun cloth, and gave them each one hat and one coarse, heavy pair of shoes a year. When they needed more I had to contrive some way to get them myself; the first time I ever asked him for shoes, he said, They didn't need shoes; children ought always to go barefoot; they were healthier for it;" and yet I noticed that none of his own children were compelled to do so. I did not allow mine to do so, either, and I am indebted to my father for many things to make me and the children comfortable, and the shoes that Brigham "couldn't afford" to buy were among them. Had I been alone, I probably should never have told my parents of my position; but my mother was with me, and she saw these little meannesses of the Prophet with surprise; yet, strange to say, they did not shake her faith in her religion. She admitted that she could not understand his behavior, and yet she counselled patience, thinking that in some way things would come right some time. I had not so much faith about the "coming right," so far as I was concerned, but I had not then begun to doubt my religion. My father had no faith at all; for he remembered the one thousand dollars a year, not a cent of which had been seen at the end of my first year as his wife. Yet no one of us dared at that time to question the Prophet's action, although we were all indignant at his breach of faith.
We found afterwards that the promise he made my father regarding the "settlement" was the standard promise which he made to all his wives before he married them, and the fulfillment was, in most cases, the same.
THE PROPHET'S FAMILY CIRCLE. - HIS WIVES AND
The Prophet Marries his First and Legal Wife. - How she lives, and how Brigham has treated Her. - The Prophet's Eldest Son. - The Story of his Life. - His Wives and
Families. - Mary and Maggie. - The Favorite Wife, Clara. - Young "Briggy" and his Expectations. - What the Saints think of Him. - His Domestic Joys. - How he visited me
when Sick, and Scolded the old Gentleman. - Brigham and "Briggy" make love to Lizzie. - Briggy Wins. - "John W." - He neglects his "Kingdom." - "Won by the Third
Wife." - The Story of Lucy C. - The Prophet's Daughters. - Alice and Luna. - Miss Alice's Flirtations. - Sweet Language between Father and Daughter. - Tragic Death of
Brigham's very first wife is not living she died some time before he became a Mormon, and before his marriage to Mary-Ann Angell, his present legal wife.
He was quite young when he married first, and was a sort of preacher among the Methodists, and by preaching, begging, and occasionally working at his trade as glazier, or as a day-laborer at farming, he managed to pick up a very scanty living for himself and his wife, whose name was Miriam Works. My great grandfather, Gilbert Weed,
married them in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, near which place they lived for some years. My grandfather used to assert that Brigham was the laziest man that ever lived, and that he would not do any work so long as he could live without it. As may be imagined, his family were not in the most comfortable circumstances in the world,
and poor Mrs. Young had by no means the easiest time. She died quite early, and the gossips' verdict was, "Died of discouragement." She left two daughters, both of whom are still living, and both are in polygamy. Elizabeth, the elder, is the first wife of Edmund Ellsworth; there are three wives besides her. The second daughter, Vilate. is the
first wife of Charley Decker, who has two plural wives since he married Vilate. These girls, with their husbands, were among the very first of the Saints to arrive in the Valley.
Brigham was married to his first living and only legal wife. Mary-Ann Angell in Kirtland, Ohio, in the year 1834. She is a native of New York State, and is still a pleasant, rather good-looking woman, though much saddened by the neglect of her husband, who rarely, if ever, visits her, and lately by the tragic death of her eldest daughter, and the still more recent death of her eldest son, Joseph A. Young. which has broken her very much. She is about the age of her husband, nearly seventy-three, and consequently is counted an old lady, while he is, according to Mormon theory, "a boy." Her mind is somewhat clouded, and this, like her sadness, is caused by the decline of her husband's affections, of whom she is very fond. She has been entirely devoted to him, and gave him as honest love when she married him, long before there was the slightest prospect of his ever occupying the position he holds now as she has ever felt for him since his elevation to be the leader of the Mormon people; and she is repaid as it might be expected she would be, after listening to one of her husband's sermons to the women of his church.
Said he, on one occasion, when he felt called upon to reprimand the complaining sisters, "The old women come snivelling around me, saying, `I have lived with my husband thirty years, and it is hard to give him up now.' If you have had your husbands that length of time, it is long enough and to you ought be willing to give them to other women, or give other women to them; you have no business with your husbands, and you are disobeying God's commands to live with them when you are old." He certainly sees to it that his wife does not "disobey God's commands," which, from his blasphemous lips, means simply his own inclinations. She has moved about to suit her husband's caprice, just as he has chosen to move. They lived first of all in the old white house on the hill, not very far from where the Prophet's buildings now stand. When the Bee-Hive was finished she lived there, but as the number of plural wives increased, she was moved back again to the old house, to make room in the other building for the new-corners. She lived there until quite recently, when her husband had her removed to the old school-house behind the Bee-Hive, a dilapidated, cheerless place, not nearly so good as the house she has left. It is, indeed, little better than a barn, and is furnished very scantily. There she lives, and there she will probably remain until her death, unless some of her children see that she is better cared for.
She took no more kindly to polygamy than did any other of the Mormon women; but she was among the very earliest sufferers. I have known her all my life; she lived in the next house to where I was born, in Nauvoo, and I used to visit at her house, with Alice Clawson, when I was engaged at the Prophet's theatre. She was always very kind to me, and I have had for her a real regard and sympathy, which increased after I became a member of her husband's family. She is a very reticent woman, neither invites nor gives confidence, has few intimate friends, and visits but little. Her hair is iron-gray; her eyes
intensely sad; her face wears an habitually melancholy expression, with a touch of bitterness about the mouth; and she is rather tall in figure. Her husband's wives regard her very differently, but most of them treat her with respect. She has had five children - Joseph A., Brigham, Jr., Alice, Luna, and John W.
Joseph A., commonly called "Joe," who died during the past summer, was well known throughout the Territory, and was by no means particularly respected. He was very dissipated, and indulged in nearly every kind of vice. He has been what is called a "fast young man," and was sent to Europe on a mission to cure him, if possible, of his bad habits; but it scarcely had the desired effect, for he came home as wild as ever. He was in my father's "Conference" in England, and behaved himself quite well there, although there was an unpleasant scandal about him while there, which has been before alluded to. In business matters he was as shrewd and as unprincipled as his father, and managed, with the assistance of the latter, to accumulate a large amount of property. Ambitious as his father is for his sons, he never dared to do anything
which should advance "Joe" in the church, for he knew very well that the people would not tolerate it for an instant, for his eldest son was by no means a favorite among the Saints. He, of course, held church offices, but he would never have been any higher in authority, and certainly would never have succeeded his father as Head of the Church, even though he was the eldest son.
He was a professed polygamist, although, Strictly speaking, he was a monogamist; for although he had three wive's, he only lived with one. His first wife, Mary, called, to distinguish her, "Mary Joe," has several children, but neither she nor they were troubled much with Joseph's attention. She is an independent, high-spirited woman, and would not show in the least that she was troubled by his neglect. She goes about her business in a matter-of-fact way, and shows that she is able to take care of herself, as she succeeded in making her husband furnish the means to support herself and her children,
whether he was willing to or not. She used to say that she could herself earn a comfortable living for them all, but so long as she had a husband who was able to do it, she would not do it, and she did not.
She is a decided contrast to poor little English Maggie, his second wife, who is in delicate health, unable to take care of herself and her child, and who is fretting herself into her grave for the husband whom she loved so dearly, but who was so utterly unworthy of such devotion. She and her child live in a poor little room, shabbily furnished, and her husband never visited her. She is allowed the merest pittance on which to live, but the sum is so pitifully small that it does not supply even the needs of life, and the little woman suffers for them sometimes. She is a patient creature, never complaining of her lot; used never to reproach her husband; just living on and bearing her burdens as best she might; hoping for nothing in this world, but trusting that somehow the things that are so wrong here may be put straight hereafter.
Dear, patient, gentle, loving "Maggie Joe" My heart goes out to her with a pitying tenderness, and I only wish it was in my power to put some happiness into her desolate life. I suppose she thinks of me as pityingly as I do of her, thinking that my feet have strayed into dangerous places, and that my soul is lost for ever by my action. She is one of the many martyrs to polygamy and a false religion. The merry-eyed round-faced, gay-hearted girl, that came among the Saints so few years ago, and was won by the attractive young elder, is little like the sad-eyed, haggard woman, the broken-hearted, deserted wife. I wonder if Joe Young's heart ever smote him as he looked at her, and saw the wreck that he had made. His third wife, Thalia Grant, he neglected so entirely, that she left him in disgust.
His fourth wife, Clara Stenhouse, was so fortunate as to be the favorite. He was devoted to her exclusively, and she was delighted because she had succeeded in inducing "Joe" to renounce polygamy to this extent: he lived with her, to the exclusion of all his other wives, and promised that he would never take another. He said that she was the only one he ever really loved, although he had been much attracted by the other two. Still, her life with him was not always smooth sailing; for when he was intoxicated, - which sometimes happened even to this son of a Prophet, - he was rather abusive, though by no means so much to her as he was to the two others. Once, however, he forgot himself so far as to chase her about the house, and point a pistol at her. She immediately left him, and returned to her father's house. When he recovered, and
found she had gone, he was deeply penitent, and he went for her at once. At first she refused to return with him, but he was so full of remorse, and begged so hard, and promised so fairly, that she relented and went. I think he never repeated the occurrence.
Clara had everything that she could desire; a nice house finely furnished, carriage, jewels, elegant clothes, and not a wish that she expressed but was instantly gratified. A contrast, indeed, to poor little Maggie, living in want, dying for lack of care, and starving, body and soul alike, for sufficient food and for the love which another woman won from her, just as she won that same husband's love from Mary.
Just now Brigham, Jr., or "Briggy," as he is familiarly termed among the Saints, is the most conspicuous member of the Prophet's family, as it is well known that Brigham Young intends that he shall be his successor. He is taken everywhere by his father, who seems determined that the Saints shall not lose sight of him ; and he already assists in different meetings. and his weak voice is often heard piping for polygamy, and
the "new Reformation," and the "Order of Enoch," and other of the elder Brigham's pet institutions. He apes his father in manner, and, as nearly as he can, in matter, and his parent is quite proud of him. There was some murmuring among the Saints when Brigham's intentions towards him were first known to them, but they say very little now, but he and his father both know they are opposed to him. I think there would have been open rebellion if either of the other sons, especially Joe, had been thought of as the future ruler.
"Briggy" is not so quick and bright as either of the others, nor so well qualified for taking care of himself without the assistance of the tithing-office and other church perquisites; but he is infinitely better-hearted, kindlier in impulse, and is the most popular of them, although that is not according him a very high place in public estimation. He has been "on a mission," and had his "little fling" before he settled down to the dignity of his present position.
As he is such a preacher of polygamy, he also practices it, and is the husband of three wives, of whom the third is the favorite. Their names are Kate Spencer, Jane Carrington, and Lizzie Fenton. He does not abuse his wives as Joseph A. does, and although the first two have occasion to complain of neglect, since he is completely tied to Lizzie's side just now, yet he does not allow them to want, but sees that they have what they need to make life comfortable. I think he has more feeling for the physical suffering, at least, of women, than his father, or either of his brothers has. I know once, while I was Brigham's wife, when I was very ill, he came to see me, and was shocked at the condition in which he found me. I had sent several times to my husband, telling how ill I was, and asking for things which I really needed; and no attention had been paid to my requests, and he had not seen fit to come near me. He resented my illness as a personal wrong done to himself; and when told by a friend of mine, a little before this visit from Briggy, he had remarked, "That's the way with women; the minute I marry'em they get sick to shirk work." That is the sympathy he always shows to a woman who is ill. When "Briggy" learned how I was neglected, he went at once for his father on my behalf, although I had not the slightest idea of his intention. He found his father breakfasting at the Bee-Hive House; and, before several of the wives, he burst out, -
"Father, I think it is shameful, the way you are treating Ann-Eliza. She is fearfully sick, and if you don't have something done for her, she'll die on your hands. I've been down to see her, and I know."
The old gentleman didn't say anything, and "Briggy" turned on his heel and left the room. That day I received a portion of the things for which I had sent so many days before. I was quite at a loss to know why they had come so suddenly, and it remained a mystery to me until, some time after, Lucy Decker told me about "Briggy's" attack on his father. She said that, although they were frightened at the fellow's temerity, they delighted in his spunk, and had liked him better ever since. I have been grateful to him ever since I knew of that occurrence, and found that he had constituted himself my champion.
Lizzie, Briggy's third wife, is a native of Philadelphia, and she came to Utah with John W. and Libbie, Johnny's third wife. She was a fine-looking girl, tall and rather large, with a bright, intelligent face, and vivacious, fascinating manners. Both old Brigham and young Brigham were smitten with her at once, and commenced paying her the most marked attentions, and for a long time a fierce rivalry existed between the father and son. Lizzie lived with Mrs. Wilkison before her marriage, and her courtship by Brigham and Briggy was very funny, and quite exciting to the lookers-on, who were anxious to see whether youth or experience would win.
First the old gentleman would come, driving down in fine style with his spanking team; then Briggy would come, rather on the sly, and spend the remainder of the day, after his parent was well out of the way. He always seemed bent on having the last word, and, finally, be won the young lady. This double courtship went on for several months, much to the delight of the spectators, whose sympathies were, for the most part, with Briggy, and who were delighted when the young fellow won.
Lizzie has two children, and is the favorite wife; but she is very unhappy, as I have often heard her say. She has seen other "favorite" wives neglected for another, and although her husband certainly has as yet given her no reason to doubt his affection for and his fidelity to her, yet even he may be tempted from her side. I have not so much sympathy for her, however, as I have for those poor girls who are educated in Mormonism, and know nothing else, for she was an Eastern born and educated girl, and entered polygamy with her eyes open.
John W. is the third son and the youngest child of Mary Ann Angell. He is the best looking of the three, has the best address, and has seen the most of the world; for although he has never been sent on a mission, he has been East a great deal, and has been more in contact with the outside, Gentile world, than any of the others. If any Eastern business is to be done, requiring the presence of some person from Utah. Johnny is always the one to go. He is a shrewd business fellow, with more finesse than Joe., and a great deal of tact, which makes him very successful. He passes for quite a good fellow among those who meet him casually, and I found him quite well known
among the newspaper fraternity when I came East. One reporter, whom I met, told me that John W. had offered him money to keep his name before the public while he was here; and told the same man that I was a poor, weak creature that would
never amount to anything. It was, probably, a desire that the "royal blood of Young" should be honored; and as that blood coursed through his veins, the honor to the sire would be honor to the son.
Johnny is not an enthusiastic Mormon, by any means, and I am quite sure if he were anybody's son but Brigham's, he would be regarded with suspicion as an "apostate;" but he is "President of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion," and his belief is never questioned by his father. I think he holds to the church because he finds it a good thing; but if Brigham were to die, and Briggy to fail in the succession, I don't think he would stick by it long. Its emoluments are convenient; with its doctrines and beliefs he has no sympathy; indeed, I fancy he is totally indifferent to them.
Like all the rest, he has embraced polygamy, but has been for some time a monogamist. Like the other two brothers, also, he has been won by the third wife, who holds him entirely now. He says openly that she is the only woman that he ever loved; that he married the others to please his father, who was quite anxious for him to "build up a kingdom." He does not hesitate to declare the "kingdom business a humbug," and prefers the society of his third, whom he now considers his only lawful wife, to that of either or both the others. The first wife, Lucy Canfield, has several children, and she is the cousin of his third wife. She is a spirited woman, like Joseph A.'s first wife, and when she found that her husband did not love her, and had said that he did not, she
made no fuss about it, but quietly took her children, went away, and as speedily as possible was divorced from Johnny, saying she would not be any man's wife by simple toleration.
The second wife, Clara Jones, cries her eyes out over her husband's defection, but will not be induced to leave him. He supports her, I believe, but never sees her, and says he shall never live with her again. She really loved the graceless, handsome fellow, and will be called by his name, and be his wife, even if she cannot have his attention.
Johnny met his third wife in Philadelphia, while on a visit there to his first wife's relatives. She was a very pleasing woman, and he an attractive fellow, and they fell in love with each other. She knew very well his matrimonial situation, but that did not deter her from accepting his attentions, nor from accompanying him to Utah under promise of becoming his wife upon their arrival. He was to discard his other wives, and be true to her. She did not seem to think that she was betraying her cousin, and bringing misery to her; she only thought of herself, and the gratification of her own ambition; for, apart from her love for Johnny, which I have no doubt was genuine, she knew very well that she should gain wealth, at least, as the wife of one of Brigham Young's sons. She and Lizzie Fenton came, and as soon as possible she was united to Johnny.
It took the latter some time to arrange his matrimonial affairs successfully, and occasionally a "scene" would occur in this somewhat divided family. She had been married but one week when Johnny first met her; but as Gentile marriages are "null and void" under the Saintly rule, her conversion to Mormonism divorced her at once, - at least from the Mormon point of view, and rendered her perfectly at liberty to go to - Utah with Johnny, who was also, by the Mormon law, justified in taking her.
After they were married, Johnny placed her, for the time, in the house with his other wives, and they submitted to her presence with all the patience of good Mormon women. It required but a very short time, however, for them to discover that the last was the only wife he cared to recognize; in fact, he nearly ignored the existence of all, except his "dear Libbie," and he felt it an imperative duty to see that she was treated with the utmost deference by the other wives. One night, as he and Libbie were about withdrawing from the family circle to their own room, he insisted that his first and
second wives should, on bidding Libbie "good night," kiss her. And when Lucy declined to comply with his request, he became very much exasperated, and threatened to shut her up in some dark closet, as is sometimes done with disobedient children, unless she would obey him. Johnny felt that he must not compromise his dignity by yielding the point, and such rebellion must not go unpunished. And, as he still remained obstinate, he ut his threats into execution. he remained in her prison until she feared to be longer away from her children, and was forced to yield' to his wishes, and kiss Libbie good night.
It was not long after that when Lucy left him, and sought a divorce, which Johnny's father readily granted.
The only acknowledged Mrs. John W. Young lives in elegant style, accompanies her husband on all his Eastern trips, and makes herself, by dress and otherwise, as attractive as possible to her husband; for she knows, as well as the others, that she
only holds him so long as she shall prove more fascinating than any other woman.
Alice Clawson was the best known of any of Brigham's daughters. She was the elder of Mary-Ann Angell's girls, and was for many years a leading actress at the Salt Lake theatre. She had no special dramatic talent, but she was a good worker, and so succeeded quite well in her profession. Being Brigham's daughter also gave her a decided prestige, and she never made her appearance but what she was warmly applauded. She was quite pretty, being rather small and slight, with blue eyes and
fair hair, and had all her father's ambition.
She was quite a favorite with gentlemen, and had several little "affairs" before she was safely married to Hiram B. Clawson, who was, at the time of her marriage with him, her father's confidential clerk, and the stage manager and "leading man" at the theatre where she was engaged.
In 1851 a Mr. Tobin visited Salt Lake, and fell a victim to Miss Alice's charms, and was engaged to her. Soon after their engagement, he went away, and did not return until 1856. While he was away she flirted quite desperately with another young gentleman, and was reported engaged to him; but her father sent him off to convert the Sandwich Islanders, and took him out of the reach of Miss Alice's charms.
Soon after Mr. Tobin's return, the engagement between them was broken, and her father's ire was so great against him that he was obliged to leave Salt Lake City. He and his party were followed, and while they were in camp on the Santa Clara River, three hundred and seventy miles south of Salt Lake, they were attacked, and narrowly escaped with their lives, leaving all their baggage behind them, and having six horses shot. Some of the party were wounded, but fortunately all escaped. I met Mr. Tobin in Omaha. and he gave me an account of the whole affair.
He broke his engagement because he was displeased with her for flirting. It was not long after this before she married Clawson, who was the husband of two wives, but still aspired to the hand of Alice, which the Prophet was much opposed to; but Alice would have him in spite of her father. Some years after he married one of her half-sisters.
Theoretically she was a polygamist; practically she hated it, and I know that her married life was very unhappy. She had several children, but was not called a very good mother.
The circumstances of her death, which occurred a few months since, are sad in the extreme.
She was in the street, one day, and met her father, who happened to be in one of his ill-humors, and was only waiting for some one to vent it on. Alice, unluckily, was the victim. She was always very fond of dress, and was inclined to be somewhat "loud" in her style. She was dressed, this day, to pay some visits, and was finer than usual. Her father looked at her from head to foot, then said, in the most contemptuous manner
which he could assume, -
"Good heavens, Alice! What are you rigged out in that style for? You look like a prostitute."
She faced him with an expression so like his own that it was absolutely startling, and, with terrible intensity, replied, -
"Well, what else am I? And whose teachings have made me so?"
She passed on, leaving him standing gazing after her in surprise. Not long after, she was found dead in her bed, with a bottle, labelled "poison," by her bedside. Tired of life, she had thrown it carelessly aside, for it was of little worth to her. Neither husband nor father was much comfort to her, and, with her mother before her, it is no wonder that she did not wish to live to grow old.
It has been said that at one time she was greatly in her father's confidence, and that she has assisted many a scheme which served to enrich her father, who used her to advance his own interests, without regard to her youth or sex. Of the truth of this I have no means of knowing, but as far as I had any experience with her, she was an amiable, kindhearted woman, ambitious and proud, and a strong hater of the polygamic life which she was forced to lead.
Luna Young was a bright, gay girl, the pet and the ruling power of her mother's house. She is very pretty, and extremely imperious. She is blonde, like Alice, but by far the more beautiful and self-willed. She has all her father's strength of purpose, and the two strong wills used often to clash, and it was rarely that hers was subdued. Her father found her the most difficult of all the girls to manage, and yet he seemed more fond of her than of her more yielding and obedient sister.
She is a plural wife of George Thatcher, and endures, although she by no means loves, polygamy.
The children of Mrs. Angell Young are better known to the world than any of the others, and of these five, the ones that the public are most familiar with are John W. and Alice, both of whom seem very widely known by reputation; John W. from his constant contact with the Gentiles, and Alice from the position which she so long held in the theatre, and which brought her so constantly before the public for so many years.