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Without Purse or Scrip in Texas: 8 April – 20 April 1901

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 12, 2012

(Previous installment)

Monday, April 8, 1901

I rested fine during the night. Was quite late when we arose. Had a good breakfast. The weather was awful cloudy. Looked very much like rain. As we had to go to Clifton we did not talk long. Thanked the folks and were soon on our way. At the post office received one letter from home. Folks all well. Also received word from Elder Ashby stating that we would work Clifton. As it happened we had 200 tracts, so we went right to work. Had a very good time. Were invited into several places, where we talked for a short time. Only sold two little books in the place. At 1 p.m. we stopped at J.E. Swenson’s where we partook of a nice dinner (beefsteak). Continuing, we finished the place by 4 o’clock. While passing a store I saw some cheap hats and as my old one was looking rough, I bought me a new derby for 75c. It was $1.50 but I got it for that. We then left the town. Came out in the country to our work. Night was coming on so the first place we came to, Bro. O.C. Pederson, I asked for a place to tarry. He said that we could stay but he didn’t want any of our religion. Before we had been with him long, I had him coming my way and was giving it to him on our doctrine. Nice supper and a good bed. Retired at 9 p.m.

Tuesday, April 9, 1901

It was sprinkling when we arose and looked as though it would continue all day. We did not start out until after noon. The clouds broke away and it looked like we would have a pretty day. We partook of a fine dinner after which we thanked them and went on our way rejoicing. The first house, Bro. Ragsdale, he asked us to come in. We talked for a while and then I sold him three little books. We started out, had only got as far as the gate, when he came running out and asked us if we wouldn’t preach them a sermon. I said, “Of course we will.” So we returned again and after they had all got seated, we sang a couple of songs and prayed. Elder Rogers talked to them about 20 minutes and then I followed for about 50 minutes upon the first principles. Enjoyed a good portion of the spirit. They were well crowded, so after we had quit, we started out to find a place to tarry. The weather was looking awful bad again. The first house we were permitted to stay, a Norwegian. Had a nice supper, talked until bedtime. Retired at 8 p.m. Good bed.

Wednesday, April 10, 1901

The weather was still awful cloudy, but as soon as we had breakfast we began our labor. The houses were a good ways apart, causing a great deal of walking to get to them all. The weather was quite cold so we could not sit down to rest very much. Only sold one book. The Norwegians would not buy our books. We were not invited into any place for dinner so I asked Bro. Huff for some and while his wife was preparing it, I gave him a talk. He would not hardly have the tract. He said that he had read all about the Mormons and didn’t want to know any from our side. We continued walking from one place to another and at night we came to a large stone house. We asked for entertainment but could not stay. Went on about two miles to a little house owned by Brother Adams. He took us in and gave us a nice supper. Talked until 9 p.m. and retired. Good bed.

Thursday, April 11, 1901

About 3 o’clock in the morning it began to rain and by daylight a good rain had fallen, which caused the farmers to rejoice as their crops were getting awful dry. It was awful muddy, so I asked Bro. Adams if we could remain until it dried off some. My request was granted. We had a shave, washed out our handkerchiefs, and talked until about 3 p.m. when we started out to work again. The sun came out. Was awful warm. Visited several families but could not sell them a book. At nearly sunset we went down to the creek to get across but the rain had raised it some so we had to pull off our shoes and wade. The first house, Bro. Wallace, we were permitted to tarry all night. Talked considerable on the gospel, our people, and Utah. At 9:30 we retired to rest in the parlor. Fine bed.

Friday, April 12, 1901

The weather quite cloudy but along in the day it soon cleared off. Had a good night’s rest and a nice breakfast. After talking for a while, we thanked the kind family and started on our way to Norse, visiting the families as we went. At the post office there were two letters for me, one from home. Pa was not feeling well, had hurt his back. One was from M.D. Cooper. After reading the news, we started to see the trustees of the school house. Stopped into a big white house. Told who we were. Did not tarry long as the brother began to get white around the mouth and it wasn’t long until he ordered us out from his house. I bore him my testimony and we went on to the next. Were invited in. Dinner was ready. The man went out and left us and we didn’t get any dinner after all, so it wasn’t long until we were on our way again. Stopped in the woods to rest for a short time. Pursuing our work, we visited several families. Sold 4 books. Were unable to see all of the trustees so did not appoint any meeting. Came to Bro. Olson’s where we asked to tarry over night. Were permitted to stay. Nice supper. Talked on the persecutions and sufferings of the Saints until after nine. Retired upstairs to our room. Fine bed.

Saturday, April 13, 1901

The weather beautiful. Arose quite early. Bro. Olson wanted to get an early start for Meridian. We did not leave his place until after 8 o’clock. The wind started to blow and was quite hard the forepart of the day. Visited all of the houses there were on Gear Creek and then we came back to Norse post office to wait for the mail at 3 p.m. Bought a nickel’s worth of soda crackers and went into the woods where we ate them. Came back to the office and waited. One letter from Elder Ashby, also the News. We then started out to work. Visited several families. Two or three would not have our literature. Night came on, only asked once for a place to tarry. Fine supper. Talked until bedtime at 9 p.m. Had a good bed. Slept fine.

Sunday, April 14, 1901

It was nice and clear, not a cloud to be seen. After talking with the brother for a while, I asked him if we could remain during the day as it was Sunday and we did not wish to travel. He went and consulted with his wife and it was agreeable, which we were very thankful to our Heavenly Father for. We spent the day reading, writing, and talking. Had a very good time. We had the parlor all to ourselves most of the time. After supper we talked until 9 p.m. on various subjects. Retired to rest. Good bed but did not go to sleep for a long time.

Monday, April 15, 1901

The weather was nice and clear. After partaking of a nice breakfast and getting our mail ready to post, we bid the folks good day and took our departure. We gave them a little book to read over as we did not get to talk much with them. We went to Norse where we mailed our reports and then came back and began our work. No one would ask us in and as we had been walking all morning and were tired and hungry, I asked Bro. Hansen for some dinner. He took us in and the table was richly spread with the bounties of life. He did not believe in religion. I talked with him for a while and then started on our way again. We visited nearly 20 families during the day but could not sell them a book and some of them would hardly take a tract. At night we were refused twice for entertainment. Got in at a big white house. The school teacher was boarding there – a pretty little miss. After supper she and I were in a conversation until about 9 p.m. on different subjects. We were very tired and were glad when the gentleman said to go to bed. Good bed and soon was asleep. Rested fine. Quite warm.

Tuesday, April 16, 1901

It was very cloudy when we arose and looked very much like rain. After breakfast we had a shave and were soon on our way. Crossed over the creek. The houses were very scattered. At noon we had been walking hard and were tired so we asked Bro. Gaustad for some dinner and were given a fine one, after which we went on our way rejoicing. Visited several families and sold 7 books. Better success than the day before. Night was coming on. We went to a place about sunset. The gentleman was not home. I asked the lady and told her what we wanted. She said we could wait until he came in. He soon came and it was all right with him. Had a nice supper. Talked until after 9 p.m. on the gospel. Held prayers. I was mouth.

Wednesday, April 17, 1901

During the night it began raining and was still doing so when we arose. It did not stop until about 9 a.m. It being awful muddy we did not want to start out for a while, so I asked Bro. Ford if we could remain until later in the day. It was not long until the boy was off visiting and we were left with the women, but we entertained them until about 3 p.m. The wind had dried off the ground some, so we concluded to start out. Had not gone far until we wished that we were back in the house again. Awful muddy and cold. In about 2 miles we came to Bro. Wallace who lived in a big white house. It was only 4 p.m. but I laid things before him and asked him if we could remain until morning. It was all right. Had a nice supper. It was a long time before I could get him on religion, but finally the subject was brought up and I talked for one hour. It was getting late so we retired. Very cold. Good bed.

Thursday, April 18, 1901

It was as clear as could be when we arose. The people were afraid that their crops had been frozen. After breakfast we thanked the family and were soon on our way although the road was still very muddy. Began visiting the families. They were a long way apart. At noon we came to Bro. John Jensen’s. They were eating dinner. We were invited in and after they were through we sat down to a fine table spread with the bounties of life. After talking with the man a while, we went into Cranfill Gap. Went to see the trustees about the house. Were successful in getting it. Appointed a meeting for Saturday night. Canvassed the little town and then came out in the country for entertainment. Stayed at the first house we asked. While eating supper a young lady asked us if we were preaching for the holiness church. I told her no. The gentleman then told her that we were what they knew as Mormons. She began to laugh. Didn’t believe him. In a minute she said, “You surely are not Mormons, are you?” I told her that we were and took from my pocket a pamphlet and said, “If you will read that, you will find out that the Mormons are not such bad people.” After they were through, I talked to them until 10 p.m. and I think left them with a different idea about us. I had had a light chill during the day and was quite tired. Retired.

Friday, April 19, 1901

Rested good. Quite late when we arose. Did not start out until 9 a.m. Waited for the dew to dry off. Every four hours during the day I took my tablets but they did not seem to work me very much. No one asked us in to dinner, so while talking to a lady at a place where the man was sick, I asked her if we could get a cold snack before going on. She said, “Come in” and in a few moments we were eating a nice dinner. Talked for a while after we were through and continued our work. Only sold one little book. The medicine was working on my head; did not feel much like walking. Stopped at a nice branch of running water where we washed our feet and socks. At night we came to Bro. Johnson’s where we stayed over night. He was a poor man but what he had was welcome. During the night the side of the bed I was on fell down, so we just moved on the floor and spent the rest of the night. Rested very good.

Saturday, April 20, 1901

The bed breaking down during the night caused me to lose some sleep and it was quite early when we arose. After breakfast we thought we would wash our clothes before starting out if agreeable with the family. I approached the gentleman about it and he said that his folks were going to wash, so we did not bother. It was not long until we were on our way. While having prayers a man came along. We sold him a book before we separated. The medicine I had been taking was [not] working very good. My head was in a roar. Did not feel much like traveling. Wished several times that I was where I could lie down, but had to keep on going. At 1 p.m. we came to a Danishman’s place by the name of Bertelson. He found out we were Mormons and asked us in and gave us a fine dinner. I was having a hot fever yet it was no trouble to me. He said he used to know a Mormon family back in the old country. After talking for some time we came to the school house where we had a shave. Went to the post office. Several letters from different parties. Came back to the school house to fill our appointment. At 20 minutes to 9 we began. A nice crowd out. Elder Rogers spoke first about 10 minutes. I followed for some time upon the first principles. Appointed another meeting for Sunday at 3 p.m. Were invited home with Bro. Pederson. Good bed. No supper.

(To be continued)



4 Comments »

  1. So different than how our missionaries serve today, and yet in many ways, so much more involved in the community. It was obviously a different time though, since very few people would invite anyone into their home for a meal, not to mention having them stay the night.

    I like to think that I am one of those people who would invite them in, and as long as Scott, my husband, was here I would be willing to share a meal and one of the extra beds with someone who either we had some connection to, or we were asked to by someone we trusted. If Scott was gone, I don’t think I would let many people in, especially at this point, since I wouldn’t be able to do much for them, or to give an experience that would help much.

    I am lonely for company some times, especially since I don’t get out very much at all. So, it might be a nice adventure to have someone knew not just to talk with, but to get to know them and their beliefs.

    Julia
    poetrysansonions.blogspot.com

    Comment by Julia — August 13, 2012 @ 5:00 am

  2. A quick question. I assume asking for hospitality means asking to stay the night. Where they expected to help or do service in return. It talks about helping with wood, but were there expected things from a person receiving hospitality?

    Comment by Julia — August 13, 2012 @ 5:14 am

  3. You’re right about the meaning of “hospitality” here, Julia. Doing chores was not an expected exchange — they were asking to be treated as guests, with the respect of clergymen, rather than tramps asking for a meal in exchange for labor. But once in a while Elder Jones does talk about chopping wood or picking cotton or doing other work. He doesn’t explain why; I think in some cases it is probably because he saw a need, and in other cases because they were asking for additional favors (to stay all day Sunday with a family, or to have their clothes washed), and in one case when they stayed several days with an LDS family, I think it was probably because they felt like members of the family and so pitched in just like everyone in the family did.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 13, 2012 @ 8:27 am

  4. It seems he’s judging his success by the number of times he shares the Gospel (conversations, tracts, etc.) rather than the emphasis on baptisms that existed in my mission in the mid-90’s.

    Comment by The Other Clark — August 13, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

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