Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Without Purse or Scrip in Texas: 21 April – 3 May 1901

Without Purse or Scrip in Texas: 21 April – 3 May 1901

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 19, 2012

(Previous installment)

Sunday, April 21, 1901

The weather fine. Rested good. Partook of a nice breakfast, after which we sat and read until 12 p.m. when we ate dinner. At 2 p.m. we thanked the folks and walked down to the school house to fill our appointment. We began to think for a while that there wouldn’t be anybody out, but at 4 p.m. a nice crowd came in. Elder Rogers spoke for a few moments first after which I took up other principles for 45 minutes. Had a good time. Enjoyed a good portion of the spirit. After meeting a lady by the name of Songly came up and asked us home. On arriving at the place, the gentleman met us at the gate and gave us a hearty welcome to come in. After eating an early supper the folks all gathered around. The conversation began and lasted until after 12 o’clock. Had a good time talking upon the gospel and our people and answering questions. Retired to rest. Rested fine after a good day’s work.

Monday, April 22, 1901

It was late when we arose. Slept well. After breakfast we talked for a while. Bro. Songly was ready to start to the field to work. He asked us to stay over all day and rest, but I told him we couldn’t lay around too long but as we had to write a letter, we would wait until after noon. They had become quite attached to us; thought we were the best talkers they had ever heard. Gave more sound reasoning for the hope that we had within us. The sister thought that I’d ought to get me a Texas gal and stay in this country. She has a sweet gal, age 19, and asked me if she would come out where I lived if Mary, her daughter, could catch a Mormon boy. She seemed to think the Mormon boys were all right. After dinner we left our clothes at their place to have them washed and we went out and began work. It was very sultry all afternoon, but every little while we stopped on the bank of some pretty creek covered with shrubbery of different kind which was nice and green. We visited 6 families. The mountain scenery was beautiful. At night we stopped with Bro. Rierson. Had a good talk. Good bed. Retired at 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 23, 1901

It was nice and clear and quite cool when we arose. Soon after breakfast, we began our work visiting the families. Could not sell any books. The houses were a long ways apart. At noon we landed at Bro. Park’s place. We talked with him for about an hour and were getting ready to start out when he asked us if we could eat a cold snack. His folks had all gone off. He prepared what they had cooked and we partook very hearty. After leaving his place we came out into the woods where we slept for a while, the weather being quite warm in the middle of the day. We had to walk 10 miles to Cranfill Gap after our mail so we did not rest long. Stopped on the road a time or two, reaching the post office at 6:30 p.m. From there we went one mile south to one of our friends, Bro. Longley, where we spent the night. After supper we sang songs and talked until 11 p.m. Held prayers and retired.

Wednesday, April 24, 1901

It was late when we arose. After Sister Longley had ironed our clothes, we talked for a while and then took our departure. Received a warm welcome to return at any time. Went into the post office to mail a card. A man gave us a ride down the road about 2 miles which helped us considerable. At 12 p.m. we came to the Meridian Creek. We stopped and had a fine swim and changed clothes. Went on some farther and stopped on a pretty green patch of grass under a pretty shady tree where we slept for about 2 hours. Did not have any dinner. At nearly 4 o’clock we continued our walk, canvassing the houses. At 6 we came to Bro. Harper’s. After talking with him for a while and selling him a book, he asked us to stay until morning with him which we did as we were quite tired. Had a fine supper. Talked until 9:30 p.m. Good bed.

Thursday, April 25, 1901

Quite warm in the fore part of the night. After breakfast we talked with the brother for a while. He asked us to stay over the day with him and rest. But we could not do that. We were desirous of preaching in the school house, so we set out to see the trustees. The first one we met said “no, sir, you can’t preach there. You are those Mormons and we don’t want you in this place.” I thanked him and went on, disappointed. Visited several families. Could not sell them our books. At noon we came to Bro. Bronstead’s. He had just quit for dinner and asked us in. After a short talk, we sat down to the table spread with the rich bounties of life. We talked with him until 1:30 p.m. when we continued our work. Stopped in the shade of a tree on the mica green grass where we had a sleep. At 3 p.m. we visited several more families. The preacher of the Norwegians was just ahead of us, so we decided to stay with him over night if it was agreeable, but he was not at home, so we were disappointed. About dark we got in to a man’s place. He belonged to the Seven Day’s Adventist. Nice supper and good bed. Retired at 10 p.m.

Friday, April 26, 1901

It was quite cloudy when we arose. In looking around I noticed that Bro. Anderson had plenty of water and a fine place to wash our dirty clothes, so after talking with him for a while, I approached him on the subject. He said all right and in a few minutes we were in a hard way of rubbing them out. After getting them through we took a shave. I tacked my shoes some. At 11 a.m. our clothes were dry. I went out into the field where the brother was and thanked him for his kindness and then we took our departure. The first man we visited, Bro. Q. Emundson, was in the field and as it was dinner time, he took us to the house and two pretty gals entertained us while he was finishing his work. Had a nice dinner and a short talk. Pursuing our labor, we visited several more families. Stopped in the woods for a while where we had a nap. At 4 p.m. we crossed over Meridian Creek. The houses were far apart. Night came on and found us at Bro. Jensen’s where we were permitted to spend it. Nice supper. Talked until. 9:30 when we retired. Good bed as usual.

Saturday, April 27, 1901

It was awful cloudy when we arose. After breakfast we thanked the kind family who entertained and were soon on our way. It was some distance before we came to a house. At 11 a.m. we found ourselves at the post office in Clifton. There were two letters from home. Was glad to hear that all were well. We then went out on the banks of the Barque River under the shade of the beautiful trees where we answered our letters. Came back to the office at 2 and posted them. Went up to the barber shop where we had our hair cut for 25c. Did not have any dinner. Went out in the country where we began our work again. Sold 4 books. At night we came to a German’s where we were kindly taken in and given a nice supper. Had a good talk. Retired to bed at 9:30. Held prayers. I was mouth. Good bed.

Sunday, April 28, 1901

Still quite cloudy. After breakfast the folks were all going to the school house to preaching, so we put a shine on our shoes and went with them. Waited for about 2 hours before the preacher came. He was an old man, very shabbily dressed, represented the Methodist Church. He took for his text the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, dwelling upon the resurrection. He spoke by rote and of all the splattering I ever heard, he did it. I would have liked to have had his time. Came to Bro. Howard’s for dinner. At 3 p.m. we returned again to the school house to listen to a Baptist. He also spoke by rote. Had for his text the 5th chapter of John, 38th verse. Very poor preaching. Bro. Estein asked us to come back and spend the night with him. Good supper. I wrote home before going to bed.

Monday, April 29, 1901

It was still cloudy when we arose and quite warm. After breakfast we were about to start out to Clifton after our mail. The kind brother said for us to leave our grips here and when we come back to have dinner with him before going on. We gladly accepted this offer. Our literature had come all okay and 10:30 found us back to Bro. Estein’s enjoying ourselves. Partook of a fine dinner. Talked until 1 p.m. when we bid him goodby. He invited us back at any time. Visited a number of families. Only sold 2 books. It was awful warm so every little while we would rest. At night the houses were some distance apart and it was some time before we could find a man at home, as they were all off fishing. Came to Bro. Carey who kindly asked us in and had his wife prepare a nice cold supper for us. His brother belonged to the Josephite Church. Talked for some time. Retired to rest. Good bed and rested good.

Tuesday, April 30, 1901

Our conversation had run off on religion, so by the time that we were ready to go, Bro. Carey informed us that he was confident that we could get the school house to preach in. We thanked him for his information. Went and saw the trustees and received their consent. Began norating a meeting for night. Visited all of the families in the community. At noon we ate dinner with Bro. Johnson. Came to Bro. Carey’s again while Elder Rogers put on half soles. Went to the school house. Had a shave. And at 8:30 p.m. began our meeting. Elder Rogers spoke for 30 minutes. I only talked for a short while as it was getting late. Appointed another meeting for tomorrow night. Invited home with Bro. Carey again. Good bed.

Wednesday, May 1, 1901

The weather was beautiful. We did not have any work to do. Bro. Carey was going to Meridian in the wagon. He asked us to go so we viewed the little place with him. First went to the depot and around by the post office. Stayed in town about an hour. Reached home again at 11 p.m. Dinner was soon ready. In the afternoon we walked up to his daughter’s place with him while he fixed her sewing machine. Spent the rest of the day reading. I did not eat any supper. Went to the school house. There was just a small crowd out. I took up all the time. Had a good time. Returned to Bro. Carey’s again. Had the same good bed. Rested fine.

Thursday, May 2, 1901

The weather was still very pleasant. Rested good. After breakfast, we talked with the brother for a while and then gave him a little to read over and were soon on our way. We walked up close to Meridian. Stopped on the Basque River for two hours and waited for the mail to come in. I went to the post office alone. One letter form Josephine. We then started west to begin our work again. Noon came but no one asked us to have dinner. At 1 p.m. we were invited into a place. After talking for a long time the man, Bro. Mulberry, asked us if we had been to dinner. Our answer was no. Well, his wife soon spread some on the table and we partook very heartily. He asked us to come back next week and preach at his house some night to which we agreed. The next house, a Methodist preacher, had followed the business for nearly 30 years. I approached him. “You are those Mormons, are you?” “Yes, sir,” I says, at the same time taking from my pocket a tract. But he rejected it and said that he wouldn’t have it around his house. The tobacco was running down his whiskers. I bore him my testimony and we went on our way. The mountains were very thinly settled. Sundown found us on the Spring Creek. Stayed over night with Bro. Partee. Had a nice supper, good talk, and bed. Slept fine.

Friday, May 3, 1901

The weather was very cloudy and warm. Rested very well during the night. After partaking of a good breakfast, we thanked the kind family and were soon on our way. We first went to see the trustees of the school house. Were successful in gaining their permission. Noon found us at Bro. Adams’, the last one of the trustees. He asked us in to rest and we stayed until after dinner, talking upon the gospel. We began norating our meeting. Could not sell but one of our books. After finishing the community we returned to the school house where we waited until nearly 9 o’clock before the people came in. Although it was late we had out a nice crowd. I presided. Elder Rogers spoke first for a few moments after which I spoke for some length to them. After meeting we sold two books. A kind lady worthy of the blessings of taking care of the servants of the Lord came forth and asked us to accompany them home. She wanted to prepare us some supper but I told her no, a good bed was sufficient. They gave us their bed and they slept on the floor.

(To be continued)



  1. I assume “norating” is some form of advertising. Does it have a more specific definition?

    Comment by Julia — August 19, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  2. Julia, I had the same question while I was preparing this series last fall, and it took the help of several readers and Facebook friends to find the answer. It’s a very old word, apparently preserved mostly in the South, that means to announce something, like a meeting, chiefly by going house to house and telling families one by one.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 19, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  3. If this were a serial novel, I would be predicting the romance plot with Mary.

    Comment by Carol — August 19, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  4. That was a fun entry, wasn’t it?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 19, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

  5. The whole approach to religion shown in these entries is a fascinating contrast to practiced religion in the US today.

    Consider a town where traveling preachers/missionaries (Methodist, Baptist and Mormon) preach to the townsfolk on consecutive days. These days, churches are everywhere, so people go to the church of their own faith, or, if they are feeling adventurous, go to another church to see what it’s like. But the days of the traveling preachers are pretty much over (AFAIK).

    Of course, the missionaries are still there, but the milieu they practice in is much different than it was originally.

    Another thought: the Elder comments on the boring nature of the Methodist and Baptist preachers, but I wonder if that isn’t a reflection of the different objectives. The preachers are trying to save souls, but not necessarily convert people–both methodists and baptists could reasonably assume that the people they were speaking to shared basically the same beliefs, so they were “speaking to the converted”, as it were.

    Whereas the missionaries were trying to convert people to a new belief system (or at least a heavily modified one), so their purpose and approach would be very different.

    Comment by Douglas Hudson — August 20, 2012 @ 6:51 am

  6. Addendum: Which isn’t to say that the Elder was wrong about the preachers; sermons can be insanely boring if the person isn’t a gifted speaker.

    By comparison, the missionaries’ approach was more like a conversation than a sermon, generally speaking, so it was probably more engaging for the participants.

    Comment by Douglas Hudson — August 20, 2012 @ 6:53 am

  7. Looks like he’s finally seeing some success. It’s interesting that he stays on for several days with some people, but turns down similar invitations often. I wonder what the difference is.

    Also, it seems there was much more emphasis on dropping tracts in those days that seeing interested souls through to baptism.

    Comment by The Other Clark — August 20, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

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