Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Without Purse or Scrip in Texas: 4 December – 16 December 1901

Without Purse or Scrip in Texas: 4 December – 16 December 1901

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 09, 2012

(Previous installment)

Wednesday, December 4, 1901

We arose very early as we had to hustle in order to catch the train. Soon after eating breakfast we bid the folks goodby. It seemed like leaving home. We had about six miles to walk and made it in one hour and 20 minutes. Took the train to Milford, Ellis County, for Waco, Fare 75c. Left at 9 a.m. Reached Watt about 11 o’clock. The train was just pulling out from Waco for Gatesville so we jumped on while it was going. Had to pay the conductor of a mile to McGregor, making 80c. Stopped there awhile and bought a ticket on to Gatesville for half-fare, 45c. Arrived there at 1 p.m. Bought a few things and then made our way to our work. Were refused a school building the first thing. Visited a few families. Stayed over night with Bro. Wendymere. Nice supper and a good conversation and a fine bed. Quite tired.

Thursday, December 5, 1901

I had an awful cold and was feeling very miserable. The kind family did not call us but ate their breakfast and when we arose, they soon prepared a nice meal for us. We conversed with the old gentleman for some time and then began the work of another day. The houses were very scattered and of course we had a great deal of walking to do. At noon we came to a Sister Cox, where we were given a nice dinner and talked for some time upon the gospel. Continuing, we visited several more families. Sold three books. At night we came to Bro. Renkin’s and while I was asking him for a place to tarry, he says, “Come in gentlemen. I will take pleasure in entertaining you.” We spent a very pleasant evening conversing upon the Gospel and they were very glad that we had come. My cold was very bad.

Friday, December 6, 1901

We arose quite late. My cold was still very bad. After breakfast we talked with the family for a while. Read some from the Doctrine & Covenants. When we got ready to go the old gentleman walked around the house with us and said that he was very glad that we had called as we had imparted some truth unto him. He said that the hours spent with us were the happiest ones he had spent for some time. Also they said for us to make his place our home whenever in the country. We began visiting the families, although they were a long distance apart. At noon we called at Bro. Bishop’s where we had a pleasant conversation and were given a nice dinner. Leaving his place, we came into the Purmela District. Saw the trustees and were given the privilege of holding a few services in the school house. Norated a meeting through the school for Saturday night. We stopped in the little burg for a short time, then started out to seek for a place to tarry. Were refused once. The next place, Bro. Ritchie, we were taken in. Partook of a nice supper, after which we talked on the gospel until 9 p.m. Retired to rest. Good bed.

Saturday, December 7, 1901

We arose quite early. The gentleman started to town quite early. It was very foggy and quite cold but we had to start out. We went into the woods where we made a fire and took a shave and at 10:10 went on our way again. Took dinner with Bro. Thompson. Could not lead him out onto the gospel. Did not tarry long after dinner. Spent all of the afternoon walking, visiting the houses. Came to the school house about dark where we remained until the crowd came in. I presided. Elder Craner spoke for 50 minutes upon the First Principles of the Gospel. I added a few words and appointed a meeting for Sunday at 11 a.m. During the meeting two young men thought they would show their raising by smoking while our service was going on. We were invited home with Bro. Chamlee, where we spent a good night.

Sunday, December 8, 1901

It was late when we arose. Had a fine breakfast. The weather had changed. The wind was in the north. Came with a rain as cold as could be almost. We appeared at the school house at the appointed time but being so cold there was but one man came out and the Lord no doubt caused him to come so we could have a place of shelter. His name was Johnson. We went home with him. Partook of a nice dinner consisting of turkey and many other of the rich things of the earth. My boil and cold together were causing me to feel very miserable. Elder Craner did most of the talking with them. We spent a very pleasant afternoon. Ate another hearty meal off from the old turkey. Before retiring, the kind sister prepared me a plaster of tobacco and grease which I put on my chest. I coughed for some time after going to bed. Took a little cough medicine and went to sleep. Rested fine.

Monday, December 9, 1901

When we awoke the wind had ceased to blow. At 8 a.m. we extended our thanks to the kind people and went on our way rejoicing. They gave us a standing invitation to return at any time while in the country. Called at one of the stores for more cough medicine. Our bottle was filled up gratis. We then called on Mr. Martins, a young doctor, for some blood medicine. He gave us two small bottles for nothing. The Lord had opened the way for us to get what we need. Then we went into the country and began work. The first man we met was very bitterly opposed to us. Would not allow us the privilege of correcting his false ideas. Were given a nice dinner by Bro. Freeman. We spent the afternoon walking about over the hills but found no families. Came to Bro. Grubb, a man who kept himself aloof from any of the man-made systems. Were treated nicely. Had a good bed.

Tuesday, December 10, 1901

We arose early. Soon after breakfast we took our departure for Purmela to get our mail. While there, we bought 5c of apples and the same in candy. Came out to work again. Did not get any dinner. Met several hard-shell Baptists. Also stayed all night with one by the edge of Hedgepath. We talked until 10 p.m. on the Gospel, but were just as far apart when we closed as when we commenced. He had some very strange ideas concerning the gospel.

Wednesday, December 11, 1901

We arose feeling well with the exception of the cold that was bothering me. We found the man was very prejudiced as he would not accept one of our small pamphlets. Commencing work for another day, we called on the trustees. Were granted the privilege of holding meeting in the school house. Appointed a meeting for night. There wasn’t anybody who was kind hearted enough to ask us in and give us dinner so we were under the necessity of asking for it. We made known our wants to Bro. J.E. Huskins and were given a nice dinner. Continuing, we visited all of the families in the community. Walked to the school house and had our meeting norated through the school. After school was out, we spent the time reading until the people came in at 7:30 p.m. We commenced with about 25 present, Elder Craner presiding. I occupied most of the time upon the first two principles of the gospel. Elder Craner spoke for a while and closed. Sold one book. Some of the boys were cutting up during the service. Bro. Yocham asked us home. Were given a good bed. Retired at 9:30. Rested very well.

Thursday, December 12, 1901

It was late when we arose. I was feeling very miserable. The weather was bad and we had no work to do, so by the kindness of Bro. Yocham, we spent the day with him. Explained several points of doctrine to him and wife that before were mysteries to them. By their consent, we heated some water and took a good bath. Ate dinner. The sun came out and we then washed our clothes, after which I wrote a letter to U.V. Perkins. At the appointed time we again appeared at the school house and held meeting, with about 20 present. I presided. Elder Craner took up all of the time. Came home again with Bro. Yocham. Before retiring I wrote my journal up.

Friday, December 13, 1901

When we arose there was a north wind blowing and it was as cold as could be almost. Before retiring the night before, I took six pills. They began to work about 10 a.m. and made me very sick. I threw up all day. I laid down on the bed all afternoon. Elder Craner spent most of the day in talking with the folks upon the gospel.

Saturday, December 14, 1901

The weather was still awful cold. At 8 a.m. we bid the kind family goodby and were on our way. They insisted that we stay with them longer but we must go, although it was cold. We had not gone far until we had to stop and make a fire to get warm. Continuing, we called on old Bro. Frank Wright where we talked for some time and partook of a nice dinner. At 2 p.m. we took our departure for Evant, a distance of 6 miles. The wind was in our faces so we were compelled to walk very fast in order to keep warm. Arriving at the post office, I found three letters from home. Folks were all well. One of the letters contained a one dollar bill. I bought me a suit of underclothes for 80c and prepared for the cold weather. We came back in the country two miles and were given entertainment by Bro. Fletcher, a Millennial Dawn member. They were desirous of hearing us preach so we held a short service with the family. Both of us talked. After we got through, he desired to explain his ideas unto us. We listened unto him for a while and then began asking him questions. He had some very strange ideas. He said that Satan and his angels fell after the flood; that Dan’s Zion was not to be fulfilled until the beginning of the millennium; that Christ was here upon the earth – he made his advent in the year 1874; and also that God was doing nothing at the present time to save His people. All of these foolish ideas and several others we refuted as fast as he would advance them. He did not like it so much for two kids to tear him up so bad. We retired to rest. It was some time before we could get warm.

Sunday, December 15, 1901

We arose feeling very well. When we got ready to go, we extended our sincere thanks to them for their kindness. This was hardly sufficient. The old man said that it would take 50c a piece to square the bill. I explained to him further how we traveled and he said it was all right. We retired to the woods and in a secluded spot built a fire and spent the Sabbath writing letters to our loved ones. At 4 p.m. we started out to seek a place for entertainment. Were refused several times. Tarried with Bro. Halloway. They were a hard set. All would talk at once and we had no chance to explain the gospel to them. Retired at 9 p.m. Rested well.

Monday, December 16, 1901

It was 8 a.m. before we arose and 10 a.m. Before we ate breakfast. The family was awful slow and would holler at the other and so the work went on. As soon as the meal was over, which consisted of bread, bacon, and gravy, we took our departure. Visited several families. Came to Bro. Barkley, a man who had entertained our Elders in this state about 20 years ago. As soon as we introduced ourselves he says, “Come in the house, gentlemen. We will have dinner in a short while.” We partook of a nice meal, after which we exchanged ideas upon the gospel. Before leaving, we sold him two books. He wanted us to remain over night but we were under the necessity of going to Evant to post our mail. We talked with the postmaster for a while and then went out to find a place to tarry. Were taken in by Bro. R.L. Chapman, where we spent a very pleasant evening. Retired at 9:10 p.m.

(To be continued)



  1. It’s been awhile since I’ve read “Without Purse or Scrip” — what an experience those missionaries had! Staying with all those people and not having a roof over one’s head must have been stressful, but what examples they saw of simple Christian charity and neighborly kindness.

    Comment by Amy T — December 9, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  2. I always worry about them when they talk about being sick. I guess partially because I know they didn’t have many vaccines, and aerially because I get bronchitis and pneumonia so easily.

    Being out in the weather, without knowing if anyone would/could take care of me if I got really sick would have taken a lot of faith. I think I would have gone if called, but I would have needed angels watching over me to make it through some of those conditions.

    I am curious about what “blood pills” really means. An Internet search came up with way too many options, even with dates.

    Ardis, you and many of your more learned readers, know this time period. I am curious about what they are, but I am also curious about ways to sort through a google search when trying to figure out what is relevant or not. (I have never thought Internet searches would replace historians, but sometimes I feel like I am wasting everyone’s time asking questions that most of your readers know because they have a much better feel for the time period.)

    I know my personal family history stories relatively well, although they are usually accounts written by grandchildren about their grandparents and parents. Other than my great-grandmother who kept a diary while teaching at Big Sur, and then stopped keeping one while her oldest, MaryAnne, (who was a baby with a lot of colic) is the only journal or diary I know of.

    There are a lot of Ruddle Station documents and letters, but while there are later stories about what happened, the older papers were lost in the Indian attacks and most of Stephen Ruddle’s papers were destroyed either right before or immediately after his death. They are some of the things listed as “missing and unable to disperse” in his will.

    All of this is to say, I could tell you all about great-great-great grandma Sarah and her daughters traveling by wagon, (without her husband and son who went a year earlier to start a homestead) to California, because two of her daughters both wrote about the experience in letters to their grandchildren. I don’t have Sarah’s account, although as a school teacher and reader of history, I suspect she must have written her experiences down. Her letters to the editor about women’s suffrage are well written and show she was very much aware of what was going on back East. Those letters, printed in the local paper are the only things I have read that she personally wrote.

    Anyway, this became a ramble, but it comes both from the question of wanting to understand the details of daily life, during that time, but also because a friend asked me why Keepa keeps coming up in my blog. She gets why certain things I write are inspired by reading here, but she doesn’t understand why I read everything here at Keepa, since many if them are boring to her. My emailed response was that I read all of it, so I can “steal” 😉 the best bits to share with my readers, and inspire me to write, but I am working on a longer answer; about why understanding Mormon culture and history of the past, through source materials instead of only relying on Deseret Books, is giving me a much richer and more nuanced view of what being a “Saint” really means. (If I ever get it finished, Ardis, I will send it to you and see if you want to cross-post it here.)

    Thanks for putting up with a rambling now and again. (Okay, it probably happens more often than not.) the ability to ask scholars who not only know the time period well, but can help me find insight into my own practice living the gospel, through the comments made about the posts, has been an important part of not feeling cut off from the gospel during this time when I am not physically able to attend church.

    Comment by Julia — December 10, 2012 @ 9:00 am

  3. I assumed the blood pills had something to do with their bouts of malaria, but I really don’t know.

    Those diaries and letters sound fascinating, Julia.

    Comment by Amy T — December 10, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  4. I went to Utah Digital News and searched “blood pills,” and came up with quite a few advertisements for patent medicines guaranteed to “cure dyspepsia, costiveness, liver complaint, biliousness, or any disease arising from an impure state of the blood,” and similar promises. Amy is probably right that he took those pills because of concern over his malaria, but you have to wonder whether patent medicines of any kind did more harm than good.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 10, 2012 @ 9:24 am

  5. They must have come away from their missions with a deep sense of the generosity that is possible to mankind.

    Comment by Adam G. — December 10, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  6. Liver pills

    Ardis, it looks like your search came up with most of the things I found. I guess I just wasn’t sure from clicking on a few of the links if there would have been something specific. The fact that taking them made him throw up made me wonder about ipecac. This quote, taken from Dr. Chase’s Third, last, and complete receipt book and household physician … By Alvin Wood Chase

    seems to indicate that ipecac may have been part of the treatment, although I still am not sure what he had, or why this seemed the right thing to take.

    “1. INFLAMMATION OF THE LIVER.—Treatment.— When the bowels are confined, usually termed a costive state of the bowels, 1 pt. of warm water, 1 table-spoonful of salt, and 1 tea-spoonful of hog’s lard, as a clyster, will give relief; or take one or two of the following liver pills at bedtime:
    Dr. Chase’s Cathartic and Liver Pill.—Take podophyllin, 60 grs.; leptandrin, sanguinarin, ipecac, and pure cayenne, each 30 grs.; make into 60 pills, with a little soft extract of mandrake or dandelion. This is the best pill I have ever used, as a cathartic and liver pill, and to act on the secretions generally. As a purgative the dose is from 2 to 4 pills, for a grown person; and as an alterative and substitute for blue mass, and to act on the liver, 1 pill once a day, or every other day.
    Remarks.—Should you not wish to go to the trouble of making this pill, inquire at the drug store for it, or send 25 cents to the Chase Medicine Company, Detroit, Mich., for it.
    When, from any cause, the languor, sleepiness, furred tongue, etc., give notice of an impending bilious attack, 4 or 5 of the liver pills should be taken at night, and followed in the morning by a dose of infusion of senna and salts, or a dose of castor oil. Extract of dandelion made into pills with 1 gr. of leptandrin to each pill, 1 taken every night, is an excellent remedy. From a long practical experience I have found that the dandelion is a most valuable medicine for this complaint, and there are herbs to cure all diseases provided by our Heavenly Father, if we would but seek them out and test their virtues. But experiments on this subject have been too much neglected to afford us all the information we need. I have found the use of the dandelion in the treatment of this disease to be a most valuable remedy. Indeed I may here observe that in the treatment of liver complaint the same precautionary remarks as those on indigestion, will also apply to this disease—that sick headache, foul tongue, or heaviness In the region of the stomach, will indicate the necessity of giving a mild emetic of ipecacuanha; and should there begreat heat, inflammation,’ or feverishness, the use of warm lemonade or a dose of salts mixed in warm water, and bathing the feet in warm water, so as to produce perspiration or determination to the surface will afford relief. Should the bowels be costive, regulate them with the following valuable pills: Take extract of butternut, 30 grs.; powdered jalap, 20 grs.; soap, 10 grs. Mix. Make 15 pills. Three or 4 is a dose. The extract of butternut has been found one of the best cathartics in fevers, and as a general purgative medicine.”

    Comment by Julia — December 10, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  7. I suspect you’re right, Adam G. The times they were turned away or went hungry or were poorly treated might have made great stories to tell in later life, but how could they not remember the very many people who were kind and caring and thoughtful and hospitable, who served them when they most needed help.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 10, 2012 @ 10:35 am

  8. Ugh, Julia! 😀

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 10, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  9. Re:#8

    Too long, or just can’t believe the state of medicine then? 😉


    I am also impressed that they were able to receive that much support, even in households with very different beliefs. I have several friends who live in the South who have a hard time reaching out to, and making friends with strong religious opinions about Mormons. One mom spent two momths comvincing the parents of her daughter’s best friends at school, who are Baptist or Evangelical, to come to her birthday slumber party.

    I think that it would be great if we had a little more of that kindness for others, being willing to share our food, housing and washing machines, to help out someone who is not of our religion or denomination, with graciousness. (And sometimes heated theological debates, which still, almost always, allowed them to go to sleep friends with their host.)

    Comment by Julia — December 10, 2012 @ 11:03 am

  10. The medicine!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 10, 2012 @ 11:07 am