Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Mormon History Coloring Book, 1923: May, “In Times of Distress”

Mormon History Coloring Book, 1923: May, “In Times of Distress”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 05, 2009

Below are outline drawings — ready to color — and verses printed in the Children’s Friend in May, 1923. The theme for that month’s lessons was “In Times of Distress,” with the motto being “For the Good of All, Each Must Be Generous.” Today seems a timely day to post these pictures, given one running theme of Conference that many of our brothers and sisters are in trouble and need our generosity.

Because the Primary was studying Church history that year, some of these drawings represent stories of the past. Others are contemporary (1923) scenes, teaching the children how they could reflect the self-sacrificing generosity of their people.

The boys and girls throughout the Church
Are glad to give their “bit”
To help support the Children’s Home
And make the place quite fit.

For little children all should have
Good bodies well and strong,
Prepared to take a place in life
And help the work along.

‘Twas in the year of Fifty-Six
That valiant Mormon Band
Was suffering for want of food.
A famine filled the land.

‘Twas then the few who had supplies
Were glad to heed the call
Of neighbors who were in distress.
They shared with one and all.

The day the boys and girls love best
Within each happy year,
Is when they go around the ward
To give their neighbors cheer.

Some take provisions to the sick;
Some chop the neighbor’s wood;
While others plant a garden that
Some widow might have food.

Relief Society sisters kind
Will always give a hand
To help those who are in distress,
The poor throughout the land.

They care not for the summer’s heat,
Or for the winter’s snow,
Just glad to render service sweet.
You’ll ever find it so.

‘Twas not so many years ago —
Perhaps you will recall
Those busy, anxious, fearful days,
Those times when one and all
Forgetting troubles here at home
Were glad to do their share
In knitting socks and sweaters for
Our soldiers “Over There.”

“My dear,” said Brother L.D. Young,
“Our neighbor from the hill
Has come to purchase food supplies.
I told him you were ill.

“But he and others have returned
From service with the band
Of brave and true Battalion boys,
The finest in the land.

“And now they cannot buy supplies.
There’s famine everywhere.”
She said, “Although we’ve none to sell,
We’ll very gladly share.”



  1. Love these. Interesting that this was the message in 1923, a period we usually assume was “roaring” and “booming.” I would expect these in 1933, but maybe wouldn’t guess them in the early ’20s.

    What’s the gal holding in the WW1 homefront image? Everyone seems very intent on what’s in her hands, but I can’t tell what it is.

    Comment by jeans — April 5, 2009 @ 6:42 am

  2. Good point about the date, jeans.

    I don’t know what she’s holding — two cylinders that seem to be connected by a short bar? I can’t imagine. This is going to bother me until I (or a reader) figure it out.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 5, 2009 @ 8:32 am

  3. oops! I assumed they were cups, and she was providing the refreshments!

    Comment by Anne (UK) — April 5, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  4. Maybe she is, Anne — that would certainly account for the interest from the rest of the family! :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 5, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  5. Who is “Brother L.D. Young”?

    Comment by Hunter — April 5, 2009 @ 11:07 am

  6. L.D. Young = Lorenzo Dow Young, a brother of Brigham Young, and the first bishop of the ward I live in. From the history written by James A. Little:

    There are yet hundreds of the Saints living who remember the suffering for food in Utah in 1855–56, more especially in the latter year. The grasshoppers had so nearly destroyed the crops of 1855 that before harvest the following year there was much destitution and suffering for want of food. The resources of the Church for food supplies were so nearly exhausted that it became necessary to discharge the public hands. Many of these resided in the 18th Ward of which Lorenzo Young was bishop. The discharged men daily made calls on him, as bishop, for assistance in obtaining food, and he found it necessary to make great exertions to supply even partially the pressing demands. Lorenzo wrote to all the bishops in the Territory, setting forth the circumstances, requesting them to help him to all the grain that was possible and that any kind that would sustain man, even oats, would be acceptable. For this partial supply he paid out of his own funds. When every other source of supply was exhausted he continued to hand out to the suffering from his private store until only a few pounds were left.

    As he could see no possible resources for further supply, he went to President Brigham Young, stated what he had done, and also that he had exhausted his ability to do more. Then came the earnest question, “What shall I do?” President Young dropped his head and seemed in meditation a few moments, then looked up and said: “Lorenzo, divide the last pound you have and trust in the Lord for the result.” Lorenzo returned home with the determination to do as counseled. At evening he looked into his flour bin with the feeling that a peculiar crisis was at hand. There seemed no natural way to avoid impending famine. There were very few pounds of flour left, and every resource was exhausted. As was his custom he shut and locked the door of the storehouse securely.

    The following morning Mrs. Young went as usual for flour, but soon returned to the room where Lorenzo was sitting, considerably excited. Said she, “Brother Young, where have you been getting flour?” When he answered, “Nowhere,” she said, “Go with me into the store room.” He went in and opened the bin and to his surprise saw that not less than one hundred pounds had been put into it since the preceding evening. Lorenzo told his wife that he could not account for it as he had locked the door as usual the evening before. That bin proved to be like the widow’s cruse of oil, for he has given this testimony: “I handed out of it to those suffering most until the season’s harvest came to our relief. It may appear marvelous to many, but the facts were as related.”

    I’m not familiar with the role Sister Young may have played in encouraging LDY’s actions, or anything about her sickness. There may have been a story in the Children’s Friend lessons that month that explained it. In any case, LDY is associated with providing food to the needy in times of famine, which must be the inspiration for this drawing and poem.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 5, 2009 @ 11:31 am

  7. I believe this is the story behind the picture (from Little’s biography):

    The Saints who crossed the plains in 1847 designed to take bread stuffs to supply them until they could harvest the following year, but they were not prepared for emergencies. About 200 Battalion men wintered in the Valley. Like their people, they had been forced by circumstances into many very straitened conditions. Perhaps their great sacrifices had made it possible to colonize [p.107] Great Salt Lake Valley. It was the Gospel principle of unity, strengthened by long association in toil and suffering, that saved many of these men, and others, from death by starvation during the first year’s existence of this isolated colony. Oliver G. Workman, a Mormon Battalion man, came, with others, from California to winter in this Valley. There he met his brother Jacob and family, lived with them, and assisted in providing food. In the spring of 1848, flour became so scarce that it was difficult for the destitute to obtain even a moiety with which to sustain existence. Lorenzo says of this incident:

    Mr. Workman came to me twice and stated that he had tried to get a little flour and could not. I told him I had none to sell at any price, but I let him have a few pounds each time. In a few days he came to me the third time and stated that he had tried to get flour until he was discouraged. He expressed his regret at being under the necessity of coming again, but said he, “What can I do? My brother’s wife is famishing.” I remarked that I had only a little flour left and stepped into another room where Mrs. Young lay on the bed sick. I stated the case to her and asked, “What shall we do?” The question was quite as important to us as to Mr. Workman; but she replied, “We cannot see anyone starve. Divide to the last pound.” I weighed what I thought we might spare. It was seven pounds. As I handed the sack containing it to Mr. Workman, he put his hand into his pocket, and without counting, handed out a handful of gold. I again told him I had no flour to sell and that I would not exchange him a pound of flour for a pound of gold. He returned the gold to his pocket, and as he turned to go away was overpowered by his feelings and shed tears.

    Comment by Justin — April 5, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  8. Thanks, Justin. That’s certainly it.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 5, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  9. Thanks, Ardis and Justin for the added information. And to think, no redundancy! [wink]

    Comment by Hunter — April 5, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  10. Hey, maybe I can use these for another FHE activity.

    Jeans: If I recall, there was a post-WWI economic downturn in the late 1910s and early 1920s. It wasn’t until around the mid-1920s that we really get the economic prosperity we associate with the 1920s. Certainly this wasn’t as severe as the Great Depression. In any event, helping those in need is a Gospel principle at all times, not only when there is an economic problem.

    Comment by Steve C. — April 5, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

  11. Here is some background on the Children’s home, shown in the first picture. Prior to 1922, children were cared for in the orthopedic ward at LDS Hospital. In 1922, a large house, known as the Hyde Home, on North Temple Street in SLC was purchased and remodeled for use as the hospital. The first year, 212 children were helped.

    In Nov 1922,stakes were asked to send apples to the home and every child was given the opportunity to contribute one apple. The next month the general board sent letters to each ward thanking them for the apples. About this time the practice of collecting birthday pennies for the home was established. Primary children or teachers also sent clothing to the home.

    By 1949, the children’s home needed a bigger building. The staff had expanded to include seven orthopedic surgeons, eight pediatricians, three general surgeons, three otolaryngologists, five dentists, two urologists, a neurosurgeon, a thoracic surgeon, and a plastic surgeon. All major surgery was performed at LDS Hospital.

    Land was then purchased on Twelfth Avenue and D Street for a new children’s hospital, which became known as the Primary Children’s Hospital.

    Comment by Maurine — April 5, 2009 @ 11:41 pm

  12. Thanks, Maurine! I knew the Home was the forerunner of the Primary Children’s Hospital, but hadn’t realized how new it all was when this drawing appeared.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 6, 2009 @ 5:32 am

  13. Maurine: Great tidbit on the evolution of Primary Children’s Hospital. I guess this is where the practice of donating a penny each week at Primary for PCH came from.

    Comment by Steve C. — April 6, 2009 @ 7:23 am

  14. I believe that Mrs. Lorenzo Dow Young is Harriet Page Wheeler Young. She was in the first Pioneer Company that crossed the Plains. They were not going to take any women but Harriet insisted that she be able to go. Her daughter Clara, Brigham Young’s wife and Ellen, Heber C. Kimball’s wife were allowed to go also. They arrived in Utah in July 1847 and Harriet gave birth on September 20, 1847 to a son who died the next year March 22, 1848. She may have been ill that fall and winter. She was forty-four in September 1847. Lorenzo Dow Young was her second husband. She was also already a grandmother. Her two daughters, Lucy Decker Young and Clara Decker Young were married to her brother-in-law, Brigham Young. Her son Charlie Decker married Brigham Young’s daughter Vilate at Winter Quarters. The Deckers and the Youngs came from the same area in New York and knew each other before they had heard of Mormonism.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — April 6, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

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