Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Without Purse or Scrip in Texas: 11 September – 7 October 1900

Without Purse or Scrip in Texas: 11 September – 7 October 1900

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 06, 2012

(Previous installment)

Tuesday, September 11, 1900

I did not rest very good through the night. The fever and purgative that I had been taking caused me to feel awful weak. I stayed about the house all day, not feeling able to help do anything. Retired to bed quite early.

Wednesday, September 12, 1900

When I got up I could feel the chill coming on as I could not get enough water to drink and that was a good sign. At 9 a.m. I went out into the woods and began throwing up, and by the time I got back to the house I had a heavy chill. Sister Robertson piled three big quilts on me and still I shook like everything. My jaws rattled together like it was in the middle of the winter. After the chill left me the fever set in with an awful pain in my head. Elder Heward administered unto me; the pain was rebuked but the fever continued until 4 p.m. I could not keep anything on my stomach as I was vomiting every little while and there was an awful lot of green bile came from me.

Thursday, September 13, 1900

I rested very well through the night; got up feeling some better but could not eat anything. Bro. Robertson started to town early with a load of cotton. I stayed around the house all day not feeling able to do anything. At night when we returned I was feeling much better. He brought the news that Galveston had been destroyed by water; thousands of lives were lost and thousands of dollars of property was washed into the sea. The robbers made quick work of their time on everybody that they could find, taking any jewelry they could cut off. Their pockets were found full of fingers and ears.

Friday, September 14, 1900

I had another good night’s rest and I thought that I had got rid of the chills. I wrote a long letter to my sisters while Elder H. Went to the post office. About 12 o’clock I began to feel queer. I went into the woods where I threw up all I had eaten, returning to the house again. The chill came upon me. I shook for some time when it left and the fever came on. The fever was awful high – it lasted until 5 p.m. I was feeling better when I retired to my bed of rest but was awful weak.

Saturday, September 15, 1900

The night was so warm that I did not rest very well until towards morning. I did not feel much like I was going to have any more chills but at 1 p.m. the fever came without the chill and lasted until nearly night. Sister Robertson helped me all she could to prevent it, but still the old thing would come. It was not welcome at all. Just before dark I went to the cotton house and weighed. I only went 170 pounds. I had fallen away about 17 pounds. I did not feel very well.

Sunday, September 16, 1900

The weather was quite warm. I did not eat much breakfast. Afterwards I drank a cup of sage tea and it made me sick to my stomach. I could not throw up until nearly 12 o’clock when I was lying on a pallet, and all at once I had to run for the woods and vomit also. After I started back to the house I turned blind and was that was for about 3 minutes, and it seemed like my head would burst and burn up. Elder H. came out and helped me to the house. I laid there and strained myself for about 2 hours trying to throw up. I was never so sick in my life as I was at that time. Elder H. administered unto me and I began to get better. At night the fever had all left me but I was very weak.

Monday, September 17, 1900

I rested very well through the night. I had some chill tonic that I took plenty of so I missed my chill and fever, which I was very thankful for. At noon Bro. Haskins came over and talked for a while. I was feeling very good at night.

Tuesday, September 18, 1900

I arose feeling very good. My strength had begun to come back. I read and laid down until 4 p.m. when we went to Bro. Haskins’ and spent the night. They did not have supper until late. I got quite gaunt. Retired to bed quite early.

Wednesday, September 19, 1900

I slept very good through the night. After breakfast the folks all went to work. I was not feeling very good so I came to Bro. Robertson’s, where I took possession, made a pallet, and rested good. Elder H. Picked cotton in the afternoon.

Thursday, September 20, 1900

Elder H. and I went out into the cotton field and picked 22 pounds of cotton, then came to the house and got ready and went up to Uncle David Haskins’. We had a nice dinner, then talked with the folks until night, having a good time. We were intending to start for Athens early the next morning and we told Bro. R’s folks that we would come back and stay with them, so we bade the folks goodby and came over, packed up our grips, and retired to rest.

Friday, September 21, 1900

We were intending to go to Troupe and take the train for Athens. Sister Robertson got up early and by half past five we had bid the folks all goodby and started on our road. It was awful cloudy. We had got about 3 miles when it began to rain. It came down awful hard for a while. After we got wet we concluded to go back. Bro. R. was glad to see us return. It rained nearly all day. We had a big fat hen for dinner; rested very good at night.

Saturday, September 22, 1900

We got up early and it was nice and cool. At 5 o’clock we again bid the folks goodby and made another attempt for Athens. The clouds came up but we went on; reached Troupe at 10 a.m.; had to wait for the train about 1 hour and a half. We finally got started; waited there for two hours and then took the train; arrived at Athens at 6 p.m. We then walked out 6 miles to Bro. Armond’s. We were tired when we reached his place.

Sunday, September 23, 1900

I rested fine during the night. After breakfast I read my letters over and fixed up for Sunday School. We went over to Bro. Jack Knight’s and we found out that there would not be any school on account of a death and some of the saints had to help dig the grave. I ate dinner there and talked with the folks and then we came back to Bro. Armond’s to write a letter. We had an awful hard rain for a few moments. I stayed here alone over night.

Monday, September 24, 1900

I rested fine during the night. After writing a letter we all went over to Bro. Cantrell’s to visit him for a while. I stayed there and ate dinner. Elders Anderson and Heward went to Bro. Smith’s. The weather looked pretty much like rain all day.

Tuesday, September 25, 1900

I came to Bro. Armond’s and helped him pick cotton until dinner time, then I washed out our clothes while the rest were picking. After I got through I wrote two letters to the wild boys at home.

Wednesday, September 26, 1900

Wednesday had been set apart as a fast day throughout the Conference, in behalf of the elders and saints that were sick. At 9 a.m. Elders Higgins and Ashby came to us. After a while we all went back to Bro. Knight’s. We retired to the woods where we knelt in prayer before God and thanked him for the many blessings that we had received and also asked him to restore those of us our health and strength that we were so much in need of. I slept with Elder Higgins that night the first time.

Thursday, September 27, 1900

It was quite warm again, so we did not sleep very good. At 11 a.m. Elder Higgins and I went back to Bro. Knight’s where we spent the day reading the paper. We were happy to hear that the elders that were working in Galveston at the time of the storm were protected. It was a great evidence that they were indeed servants of God. I went over to Bro. Smith’s and spent the night. I did not rest very good as my body ached so bad. I could feel the old fever coming back. I was in hopes I had got rid of it.

Friday, September 28, 1900

After eating a good bit of chicken for breakfast and talking with the folks for a while, I bid them good morning and went to Bro. Knight’s to bid a couple of the elders goodby that were going west. I also sent with them to town for a bottle of chill tonic. I took a hot fever about 9 a.m. which lasted until nearly night, causing me considerable of pain. I could not keep anything on my stomach. It was quite late before I retired to bed; could not rest very good.

Saturday, September 29, 1900

I was feeling awful weak when I got up. I tried to take my medicine but was unable to do so. About 9 a.m. I came over to Bro. Armond’s where I spent the rest of the day. At 3 in the afternoon the fever came on me again and lasted the rest of the day and all night and all day Sunday. The folks all went off to Sunday School so I was alone about half of the time. As soon as it left me Sunday night I began to taking plenty of stuff to keep it off.

Monday morning I was feeling awful weak and looking awful bad. I did not do anything for several days; only sit around the house and rest. On Friday I was feeling pretty good and there was to be a large show at Athens so Elder Higgins and I went up. We had a nice time, drinking lemonade and eating candy. I bought me a new hat and we went to the show. The performance was good. I saw one man eat glass and then he put it in a pan on the floor and walked on it with his bare feet and never cut himself. He also would run hat pins through the muscles of his arms. Another man shot a potato off from his wife’s head. She lit a cigarette and put it in her mouth and he shot the fire off from that. Her nerves were very steady and so were his.

Saturday, October 6, 1900

Elder Higgins and myself walked to Bro. Taylor’s in the afternoon; got there about dark. They were glad to see us. We had a good supper and retired to bed.

Sunday, October 7, 1900

After breakfast we all got into the wagon and rode 5 miles to the schoolhouse where we held meeting. Both of us talked. We then went home with Bro. Scroggins for dinner. At 3 p.m. we came back to the school house where we held services again, enjoying a good portion of the Spirit of the Lord. After meeting Sister Thrasher took a fit in the schoolhouse. They put her in a wagon and hauled her home. We administered to her and in a little while she was feeling all right. She was once entirely healed of them through the power of God but through her transgression they again returned. We stayed with Bro. Scroggins all night.

(To be continued)



  1. He’s that sick all day, and still writes in his journal. Amazing. I’ll never be too tired to write in mine again.

    Comment by Carol — May 6, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  2. My Grandfather’s malaria symptoms were never quite this bad. Sounds like a pretty miserable week, and the blindness must have been especially frightening.

    I thought because of the Galveston storm reference, to just include a couple of the entries from my Grandfather’s journal, as one of the four Elders who were in Galveston for the storm:

    September 8, 1900, Saturday. Could not work on account of storm. Could not go out of the room and at night the water from the bay came up all over town. We had to get outfo the room and move upstairs. I was 4 feet of water in the room and the wind so strong that it was blowing houses known all over town. The people all moved out but us Elders and the Lord spared us while the city was half destroyed.

    September 9, 1990. Sunday. Galveston. Still on the turf after one of the most terrific storms that ever pased [passed] over the country. The sight that met my gaze this morning was terriable. Over half of the city destroyed and the other very badly damaged. The water and wind together played havack [havoc]. The report is that the loss of life will be in the thousands. They are hauling them in by the wagon load, food and water scarce as the water works system was destroyed and a good many cisterns filled.

    September 10, 1900. Monday. Went round to see the sights . It is terrible to behold. They are hauling in dead bodies by the wagon loads. They have had to resort to sinking them in the sea to dispose of them. They are in such a condition that they can not keep them, so they take them by the shiploads, and take them out in the sea and sink them, rich and poor, white and black. I see many bodies lying amoungst the timber and where they had lodged.

    It took the four elders a couple more days to find a way across the bay to Houston, as all the bridges were washed out. Finally, on the 11th they got to Houston, and met Elders Daniels and Shipp, and were able to get word out about their survival.

    Comment by kevinf — May 7, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  3. Thanks for that tie-in, kevinf. History always feels so much more real to me when I see the same story from different sides, as it happened … and that’s even without his being my grandfather!

    As for the sickness, I don’t want to be too public, but recently I’ve had reason to understand the “chills” part of “chills and fever,” with the shivering and uncontrollable shaking, and I have greater empathy with the elders now. Bless the women who tried to take care of them as they were going through this, too.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 7, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

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