Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Without Purse or Scrip in Texas: 9 November – 30 November 1899

Without Purse or Scrip in Texas: 9 November – 30 November 1899

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 08, 2012

(Previous installment)

(Be aware that this installment contains the first uses of an unpleasant word which Elder Jones will repeat throughout his journal. I decided to reproduce his words as he used them, with apologies to those who may take them personally.–AEP)

Thursday, November 9, 1899

Reaching Athens at 5 o’clock we stayed there two hours and then started afoot through the woods to a place called Pilgrim’s Rest, a distance of 6 miles, where we met Pres. Ash and some more of the elders. Elder Hunsaker then took me over to Bro. Smith’s where I spent the evening.

Friday, November 10, 1899

I took breakfast with Bro. Smith, after which at 10 o’clock Conference began. Some of the elders took up the time. At 3 o’clock, in company with 10 of the elders, went to Bro. Foster’s for dinner. At 7 o’clock meeting began in which I had the privilege of speaking. After closing, in company with Bro. Horn I stayed overnight with Bro. Foster where we got some very good treatment.

Saturday, November 11, 1899

After taking breakfast with Bro. Foster I walked up to the schoolhouse where meeting began at 11. After meeting, in company with three elders, went to Bro. John Knight’s and partook of a very nice dinner, after which we returned and held Priesthood Meeting, in which the elders all had a chance to bear their testimony to the truthfulness of the gospel, after which we closed. Staying around the place until 7, when we held services in the evening, having a very good time. After closing, four of us came home with Bro. Smith.

Sunday, November 12, 1899

After eating breakfast with Bro. Smith, I walked over to the old house called Pilgrim’s Rest, where meeting began at 11 o’clock. Elder Billings was the speaker giving his farewell speech to the people. After closing I went back again to Bro. Smith’s in company with four of the other elders. At 3 we again came back to the house where we held Priesthood Meeting in which we received instructions pertaining to our labors and also partook of the spirit of God which was resting upon us to a very great extent. At 7 meeting again commenced in which Elder Lee and Kundick spoke upon the principles of the gospel. After meeting I went back again to Bro. Smith’s where I spent the evening.

Monday, November 13, 1899

About 10 o’clock Elder Dean and myself bid the elders all goodbye and then started on our road to our field of labor. After we had gone a short distance, Elder Call and Chandler caught us. After traveling on together for a short time, Elder Call took sick and could not travel very good. Taking it along very easy all day, we arrived at Markers Cawbar, a distance of about 13 miles. Elder Dean and myself stopped there overnight, receiving very good treatment and were welcomed back whenever we came through the country.

Tuesday, November 14, 1899

Early in the morning we started on our road again, walking about 3 miles where we came to Bro. Scoggins’s. We stopped there and had a bath and had our clothes washed. We stayed with him over night.

Wednesday, November 15, 1899

After our clothes were dried we started on our way, walking on our way a distance of 12 miles. As night began to draw near we began to seek a place to stay overnight. We were refused twice but we finally found one good friend who kindly took us in and gave us supper and a good bed.

Thursday, November 16, 1899

The weather cloudy and hot, we left Bro. Murray’s early in the morning, traveling on to Jacksonville where we reached at 11 o’clock, a distance of 8 miles. We stopped there for an hour or so, eating dinner with one of the merchants. We then traveled on down the railroad track 9 miles passing two little stations, reaching Bro. Ervin’s at sundown, where we stayed for the night and received very good treatment and were welcomed back at any time.

Friday, November 17, 1899

We left Bro. George Ervin early in the morning traveling down through Rusk to Thatcherville, a distance of 19 miles. We were refused five times in trying to get a place to stay. About 8 o’clock we got into a corn crib, where we stayed for the evening without any supper and on the ears of corn we went to sleep.

Saturday, November 18, 1899

On awakening early in the morning we found that Uncle Sam did not have breakfast ready. But shouldering our grips we started on, traveling about 8 miles without anything to eat. About 1 o’clock we stopped into a place and were invited to dinner, which we were very thankful for. After dinner we went on 8 miles further and as night was drawing on, we began to seek for a place to stay and were refused three times, but after talking awful hard we got into Bro. Whetherby’s place, where we partook of a nice supper and were furnished with a nice bed.

Sunday, November 19, 1899

After breakfast we inquired of the road and then started on our journey, not wishing to travel very far because it being Sunday. We strolled along resting now and then, reaching Appleby about half past 4, a distance of about 10 miles. We went on about 2 miles and then began to seek for entertainment, which we got by only asking once. We had a good supper and a nice bed.

Monday, November 20, 1899

We began travel early in the morning, passing through crossroads where one of the elders went into a store and got a few crackers and a little candy. We walked outside of town where we ate it and then having a shave, we started on, passing through Martinsville. We then separated, Elder Chandler and Call staying in St. Augustine County, and Elder Dean and I going to Sabine County, stopping overnight at Bro. Kendrick’s place where we passed a very pleasant evening.

Tuesday, November 21, 1899

Leaving Bro. Kendrick’s, we walked on 8 miles coming to Ironsoe where we went into a store and had a lunch and inquired the road. Then we traveled on about 9 miles and as night was drawing on we began to seek for a place to rest, which we found without any bother. Received very good treatment and had a very nice bed.

Wednesday, November 22, 1899

We left Bro. Emerson’s quite early in the morning, passing through St. Augustine, having a few conversations with the niggers now and then selling some books, reaching Bro. Carter’s where we were invited to stay overnight.

Thursday, November 23, 1899

Leaving Bro. Carter’s we walked down to Sexton where we stopped in the store and got into a conversation with some of the people of that community. At noon we went home with Bro. Brittain for dinner. After dinner we walked back to the store where we had a conversation with a nigger, after which we walked up to Bro. Brooker’s place and stayed overnight with him.

Friday, November 24, 1899

Leaving Bro. Brooker’s in the morning we walked around to the homes announcing our meeting and were rejected three times. The weather looking very bad, we went into Bro. Riley’s place where we stayed until the next morning, being so stormy we could not hold meeting.

Saturday, November 25, 1899

Arising early in the morning we found the weather about the same, very cold and stormy. We stayed with Bro. Riley until noon when we walked up to the store where we got into conversation with some of the people. At night we were invited home with Bro. Brittain. As we had meeting apprised for that night we walked up to the schoolhouse and stayed there but no one came. We then hunted our way back to Bro. Brittain’s where we spent the evening very good.

Sunday, November 26, 1899

The weather being very cold and stormy, we stayed with Bro. Brittain all day and night, receiving very good treatment.

Monday, November 27, 1899

We left Bro. Brittain’s about 10 o’clock, wallowing through the mud tracking the people. Were invited into two places where we had a short conversation. After leaving them we traveled on about 2 miles when we began to find a place to stay overnight. Were refused 3 times but finally got into Bro. Smith’s place but were not very much liked there.

Tuesday, November 28, 1899

Leaving Bro. Smith’s early in the morning we walked down to Geneva to get our mail, but I was disappointed by not getting any. There being several kinds of diseases there, we hurried out, the people being very scared of us, making it hard on us. We walked out about 5 miles to a man by the name of Jones. It was then about dark. We asked for entertainment which was granted us. We received very good treatment and had a good conversation with the family.

Wednesday, November 29, 1899

This family being desirous of hearing us preach, granted us their house to preach in. We then walked around and announced our meeting to the people. We had a very good time together. The people seemed to be very good.

Thursday, November 30, 1899

Leaving Bro. Jones we walked on, distributing tracts to the people and announcing a meeting which we were going to hold on the first of December. As night was coming on, we began to find a place to stay. We were refused twice but finally we got into a place by the name of Bro. Brogh, where we received very good treatment and had a good night’s rest.

(To be continued)



  1. 1899 Nov 28: “… There being several kinds of diseases there, we hurried out, the people being very scared of us, making it hard on us….”

    Elder JA Brooks, working just south of Elder Jones that winter, also encountered a quarantine mentality, which viewed itinerant outsiders with (often justified) distrust.

    I don’t know anything about Sabine County in 1899, but Brooks identified smallpox as the concern in his county. A _Variola minor_ smallpox epidemic had been spreading northward and westward from Florida since 1896. It reached Texas in 1898 and Utah in 1899. The most famous related incident in Texas is probably the “Laredo Smallpox Riot” from 1899 March.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — January 8, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  2. Thanks for the explanation, Edje. I read that and wondered “leprosy”?

    (Not too big a leap after the coverage of armadillo-borne leprosy in the South earlier this year.)

    Just one question this time: does he mean a member of the church when he says “Brother”?

    Comment by Researcher — January 8, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  3. Not usually, Researcher. He uses “Brother” almost every time anyone is kind, or even courteous, to them. Sometimes it’s a little ambiguous, but usually when he refers to a church member there will be other cues to membership.

    And thanks, Edje — that’s really helpful context, realizing that the elders are always asking to come in and eat at the same table as the family, and sleep in their bedding.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 8, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  4. That’s about 144 miles in 18 days–about 8 miles a day, on average. That doesn’t sound so bad, until you realize that they were carrying their grips, and dressed as missionaries (whatever that meant in 1899–but at least we can be sure that they weren’t wearing a nice pair of Gore-tex lined lightweight hiking boots).

    And walking 8 miles on an empty stomach without breakfast sounds difficult! I had to walk 12 blocks today (to and from church) on an empty stomach–that wasn’t hard, but I wouldn’t have wanted to go another 7 3/4 miles.

    Comment by Mark B. — January 8, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  5. … and then do the same (maybe with breakfast, though) the next day, and the next day, and the day after that, and …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 8, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  6. Thanks for clearing up the title “Brother”

    Comment by The Other Clark — January 8, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  7. My grandfather, who served in the same mission starting in December 1899, discusses many of the same issues of walking for miles without breakfast, of being turned away for entertainment, and issues with the weather. It will be interesting to see where their travels intersect. I will be following along here with his journal at hand. Love this series so far.

    Comment by kevinf — January 8, 2012 @ 11:42 pm

  8. Thanks again, Ardis. This is wonderful stuff.

    Comment by J. Stapley — January 9, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

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