Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Annie Abels: In Her Own Words, 1899

Annie Abels: In Her Own Words, 1899

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 16, 2009

I am still struggling with the soon-to-be-ended isolation from my usual reference tools, and have not attempted to identify Annie Abels. If any readers are able to find details about her – her maiden name, her husband’s given name, her dates or children or residence – please share those along with any comments about her story. Thanks!


I have often read in the Juvenile Instructor instances of the Lord’s answering the prayers of the Saints. I also have had some experience myself of the goodness of the Lord in answering prayer. And I would like to benefit others and help to promote faith by making a few statements.

I am a widow with four children to support. We all try to help make a living, and make home as comfortable as possible.

Sometimes when one of us is out of employment, it is rather hard to make both ends meet.

Sometime ago I was out of flour, and had no means with which to buy any. I was very much troubled about it, and knowing that every one has trouble in this life, I did not mention it to any one, but went to my Heavenly Father, asking His aid.

When I got home that night, the first thing that met my view was a fifty pound sack of flour and a sack of breakfast flour. I asked my daughter where it came from. She said it came from the Tithing Office, having my name and address on it.

I was very thankful for this help, and never found out who sent it.

After some months had passed, I found myself in the same trouble again. Knowing God to have been my help in former instances, I again laid the matter before Him.

On my way home from work that evening, I met Brother A—. He was standing on a corner, talking with two other gentlemen. when I was near to them, Brother A— turned to me and said, “Sister, I want to give you something.” And he handed me a five dollar Tithing Order.

I thanked him as best I could, and hurried on for fear of showing how near I came to breaking down.

These things show us that the Lord does watch over and care for those who put their trust in Him.




  1. I love the simple logic and beauty of this. She kind of mirrors Mormon’s wonderful “and thus we see” pattern.

    I was also intrigued by Sister Abels’ indication that she was afraid of showing her emotions, compared with the contemporary tendency among fellow Saints to display emotion.

    Thanks for this. Very interesting.

    Comment by Hunter — June 16, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  2. I’m touched by this story, and I’m stuck on some of its details. For instance, what’s the difference between “flour” and “breakfast flour”? Is breakfast flour like “Bisquick”? Or would that mean cornmeal?

    Also, it strikes me that if someone today received 100 pounds of flour and nothing else, they might not be as grateful so much as puzzled about what to do next.

    Comment by jeans — June 17, 2009 @ 6:11 am

  3. jeans, I’m guessing that “breakfast flour” would have been cracked wheat or some other form of cereal that wasn’t milled as finely as flour. And I think you’re right about the gratitude and knowledge! But in a day when wheat was the staff of life and people prayed “give us this day our daily bread,” nothing could have been more welcome to Annie Abels.

    She had her dignity, didn’t she, Hunter? I like the stoic attitude that “everybody’s got problems, and why should I be any different?”– but today we’d scold someone in need who didn’t let someone know she needed help as badly as Annie Abels did.

    I wish I knew who Annie Abels was, in part just to know her better, but in part to know how old her children were. The idea that all four of the children plus the mother had to be employed to keep starvation away from the family door is startling.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 17, 2009 @ 7:29 am

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