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Guest Post: “A Suitable Program Was Rendered”

By: Kevin Folkman - January 06, 2011

Kevin Folkman’s grandfather, Heber Nephi Folkman, returned from his mission to the Southern States in April, 1902 and was tendered a rather elaborate – Wednesday evening – reception, as reported in the Ogden newspaper. Let us know how this compares to your mission homecoming …

The [Ogden] Standard
10 April 1902, 5

Reception Tendered a Missionary Recently Returned.

Two Missionaries to Leave in the Near Future for England – Interesting Program.

Plain City, Utah, April 10. – Elder Heber Folkman, who has just returned from a mission to Texas, was given a reception in the meeting house last night. The attendance was quite large and a suitable program was rendered.

The elder had a thrilling experience in the Galveston flood, spending the night with three companions in a house around which the water was eight feet deep. He got a good wetting and good scare, but that was all.

Following is the program which was rendered:

Selection by band.
Singing by choir.
Prayer by A[braham]. Maw. [bishop’s counselor]
Singing by choir.
Welcome speech by W[illard].C. Carver. [son of one of Plain City’s first pioneers]
Quartette by Joseph Green and company.
Speech by J[ens]. P[eter]. Folkman. [Heber’s father]
Selection by band.
Recitation by Margaret Jenkins.
Speech by H[eber]. N[ephi]. Folkman.
Duet by Malica Carver and Lucy Rawson.
Speech by J[oseph]. M[oroni]. Folkman. [Heber’s half-brother]
Solo by Ada Vanso.
Speech by H. Brown.
Speech by Bishop [George W.] Bramwell. [bishop of the Plain City Ward since 1883]
Singing by choir.
Benediction by S[amuel].P. Drany. [bishop’s counselor]

On the 16th of this month Elders Alma Wayment and William Stewart, Jr., leave for England. They go as missionaries, and they go fully realizing, we are assured, that Briton is a tough proposition, but hopeful that all their efforts will not be as seed cast in stony places.

The link to the Galveston flood will take you to the Juvenile Instructor blog and the first of Edje Jeter’s posts on that 1900 hurricane, some parts of which feature the story of Heber Nephi Folkman.



  1. Wow. Three selections from the choir, two from the band, a quartet and a duet, and six speakers. Was that normal?

    Comment by Bruce Crow — January 6, 2011 @ 10:00 am

  2. My ‘homecoming’ was a five minute testimony before listening to a general conference broadcast for the October 1979 conference. I came home the week before but it was ward conference, and the week after I was on my way to BYU. There was talk of having me speak again at Christmas but it never materialized. (Clearly five minutes of me was plenty!)

    Comment by Paul — January 6, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  3. I don’t know how normal this was (could probably get an idea from some newspaper searching) — they certainly made it a full evening program, didn’t they?

    I at least got to speak the standard 20 minutes or so, Paul. Nothing else on the program was geared to my homecoming, though. (But then I didn’t get any serious church callings again for 28 years, so clearly 20 minutes of me was TOO much!)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 6, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  4. A sister missionary and I got home the same week and she got to speak first. She took 20 min and left me with 5 at the end.

    I did get to speak for 10 min the next week at my brother’s farewell.

    Then I was back to college, never to do the high council speaking tour. I never even reported to the HC…

    Comment by queuno — January 6, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  5. Wow. This is impressive.

    Comment by J. Stapley — January 6, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  6. I’m just glad all this wonderful hullabaloo wasn’t for me! Talk about grand expectations — Heber’s speech better have been gewd!

    Comment by David Y. — January 6, 2011 @ 11:26 am

  7. I don’t know if Heber was intimidated or not, but he married within a couple of years, moved to Idaho and left Plain City behind for good.

    His missionary diary is interesting, and not just for the accounts of the Galveston hurricane. He’s rather brief, to the point, and most daily entries are two or three sentences about miles traveled, where they stayed for the night, and the meetings they held. Every so often, he drops some interesting details, like going alligator hunting on a day off.

    He also included a few poems, including this one about Texas in his journal. It’s certainly not written by him, but perhaps after the hurricane, malaria, bedbugs and mosquitoes, it probably represents how he felt about Texas overall. He certainly had great love for a number of families that he met or stayed with on multiple occasions.

    Here is the poem. If anyone has seen it before, it would be interesting to know the author:

    Hell in Texas

    The devil in Texas, we’re told, was chained
    And a thousand years he there remained
    He never complained nor did he groan,
    But determined to make a good hell of his own,
    And the devil then said I’ve all that is needed,
    To make a fine hell and then he proceeded,
    He began to put thorns on all the trees,
    And mix up the sand with millions of fleas.
    He scattered triantulas along all the roads,
    Put thorns on the cactus and horns on the toads,
    He lengthened the horns of the Texican steer,
    And put additions on each rabbit’s ear.
    He put a little devil in the broncho’s steed,
    And poisoned the feet of the centipeed,
    The rattle snake bites you, the scorpion stings,
    The mosquito often delights you with the buzz of his wings.
    The sand burrs prevail and so do the ants,
    And those who sit down need half soles on their pants,
    The devil then said throughout all the land,
    We’d manage to keep up Texas own band.
    All would be mavericks unless they bore,
    Washing of scratches, bites, and thorns by the score.
    The heat in the summer, one hundred and ten,
    Thought for the devil too warm for the men.
    With all these the wild boar roams through the black chapperall,
    So you see it is a suitable place for a hell,
    Come to Texas all who wish to dwell,
    Here with the devil in this kind of a hell.

    Comment by kevinf — January 6, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  8. Here’s a 1909 source (so it couldn’t be where your grandfather found it), that credits the poem to “an officer in the regular army, stationed at San Antonio, Texas” — seems if they know that much about him, they ought to be able to state a name!

    (And it looks like Johnny Cash sang these words, more or less, in a number called “Mean as Hell.”)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 6, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  9. Sounds like a fun time was had by all.

    I am not familiar with the Odgen area and had to look up Plain City. Looks like a Mormon community! And Heber Nephi — what a perfect late-19th century Mormon name.

    Thanks for the interesting post, Kevin!

    Comment by Researcher — January 6, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

  10. I would surely be intimidated by that kind of homecoming. But, maybe that was more common than we think and he just accepted it without giving it much thought.

    Comment by Maurine Ward — January 6, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  11. Fun read. My homecoming was a brief talk in conference. No HC speaking tour either. I was invited to do a fireside for the YM/YW but after about three or four slides, they literally began to get up and walk out.

    Ardis: Please, please, please let me know what you said in your 20 minute talk to get out of serious callings for 28 years!

    Comment by Steve C. — January 7, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  12. Steve, I think it was a coincidence. I think the real way to be overlooked for callings is to remain single. I was, of course, single when I gave my homecoming talk.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 7, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

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