Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Guest Post: The Courtship of Addie May Wood, 1901

Guest Post: The Courtship of Addie May Wood, 1901

By: Grant Vaughn - April 17, 2013

My Great-Grandmother was born in November 1880 in South Bountiful, the oldest child and hardest worker on her father’s farm (besides him). There were no sons born to work the farm until Addie May was 15. She often complained in a proud way of how she was such a “farm-boy” but limited education and social opportunities clearly weighed on her. She even talks about helping her father, George C. Wood, build the stone house that still stands behind the Orchard Stake Center on Orchard Drive in North Salt Lake.

She wrote a sparse diary with entries from 1895-96 and 1900-01. 1901 gets interesting as she reports on four potential suitors. See if you can figure which became my Great-Grandfather:

Monday, May 6, 1901

[After her father required her to quite school at the Salt Lake LDS Academy (later, LDS Business College) she went to say her goodbyes and then this]:

Well this was not all. I will leave the readers to guess the rest, but by the way I will tell you that I still had one more to say good by to and the thought of it made me shrink. Well he comes down to Grandma’s with me from school, then came down in the evening and stayed with me for some time. And there he promised [?] to write to me. And I hope that I will know whether it is best for me or not. Well I suppose you would like to know his name and listen while I tell. It was and is Mr. Earnest Toon.

[Monday] May 13, 1901.

Went to work with a will for I had a little new sister who was welcomed into this world of sin and sorrow this morning about half past six. [?] Juliatte [her father’s second wife married 1886] is doing fine. Helped wait on her then went to Centerville, you know, to take Grandma home.

Called at the office to get that letter that had been troubling me so, but I learned to not depend on one word a boy or young man said for the letter was not there. I was disappointed for I did think he meant what he was saying. But it is all for the better or worst I don’t know which.

[Tuesday] May 14, [1901].

Home and feel half broken hearted. Have just finished the dishes, must go and hoe corn for a change. Want a new dress but I don’t see any chance, so guess I will just make a new one out of an old one Aunt May gave me and call that my new dress as this life is full of sorrow and misery, so make the best of it.

May 15th [?].

In the evening feel a bit better because Naomi has brought me a letter from the one mentioned before and I must now confess. I know you would like to know what he says, but you wait. Would like to go to the dance, but will stay at home.

May 16th [?].

Got breakfast washed dishes. Loaded a load of hay. Answered my letter. [sister] Nellie finds it and reads it, then hollers and laughs like a crazy man. But I send it off anyway.

[Friday] May 17, [1901].

Get up early get breakfast. Do the work. Beg Nellie to wash. Go plant seeds. Then Mama and I go to town. Pa gives us $40 to get us all a new dress. We all get one but me and we could not find one in town that I liked for the little money we had so we came home without any. I go to school for a minute, see all the dear faces, and feel like bawling for I would like to be there. Well as I go home I pass the place where E Toone boards and of course he is on the porch and so we stop and chat a little while. Ma tells him every thing burns my fingers when I am working around the stove. We say good by and drive on, Ma blushing like everything.

[Monday] May 20, [1901].

Pa starts mowing his hay. I try to get Nellie to drive in my place. I succeed, so Ma and I go to the [post] office and I get left for I kind of expected a letter but do not get any. And also try to get a dress but can’t.

[Sunday] June 2, [1901].

Go to Young Peoples Conference in the City. Meet Grace Stringham and sister also many more. See E. Toone [?] speak as we pass by. Stay to Grandma’s all night.

[Monday June 3, 1901]

Go up town with Aunt May early Monday morning. Get me a lovely new dress, go to school for a minute, then to Grandma’s and we stay til Tuesday.

[Tuesday June 4, 1901]

Come home on the half past three dummy with my dress all most made. Find the folks almost angry with me thinking that I have been hunting old Toone, but I am pleased to tell them I have not seen him.

Thursday [June 6, 1901]

[W]ith a determination to go for I can’t see anything in it that will hurt me. So I ask Papa while he is eating, I was pretty sure he would say yes for I had prayed very earnestly that he would let me go if it was all right. After shedding a few tears and pleading with all the heart a child could have he finally says “yes,” leaving me 20 minutes to reach the dummy and get ready also for I have just come in from pitching hay. Well I jump in my duds quicker than lightning and putting on my shoes and handing me a petty coat and Ma bundling up my new dress and through it all I reach the dummy and soon meet Grandma and all with half a grin. But they soon have me dressed to a T not a [?]. And I go to school, with hay, pitchforks, and everything else running through my mind, and once in a while I almost wished I had stayed and hauled hay all day. But when I opened the door of the College, the first thing that I see was a large mirror and I quite surprised myself. For a new blue dress and pretty red roses made me feel a bit better. So I smiled and went to the assembly room where Bro. Mills met me. And we went in. I was hugged and kissed until I forgot all about my troubles. There we listened to a good program and some very good advice from Pres. Snow. After meeting it was a time of sorrow again for there was many say good by to me that I hardly expect to see anymore. And I had learned to love and respect them.

Well on Thursday evening I had a caller for a little while. It was of course Earnest T. And Friday the college went out to the lake where we had a lovely time. I had a splendid time until I got to Grandma’s and of course E.T. brought me home or to G.M. [Grandma’s?] and there he was talking of you know what and I did not answer his questions as I should of done. And I spoke kind of hasty, but am suffering for it all now ten times over, but hope it will turn out for the best.

[Saturday] June 15, [1901].

Send to the [post] office expecting a letter, and get one from old Bennett Peterson whom I had almost wished he would forget about me, but he still seems to have some claim on me, but whether he will or not I will leave you to guess. I must go Ma is calling me to come and bathe. It is 20 minutes to eleven o’clock, Saturday night.

[Saturday] June 22, [1901].

Send a letter to Mr. Peterson telling him I see no more need of our corresponding and hope he is of the same mind. Go to conference in Centerville. Meet Uncle Jim and he asks us all to come up to the wedding of his son James which makes me feel like thunder [?] but still I am glad to see him get married.

Sunday, [June] 30, [1901].

Go to Sunday school, stay home all afternoon felt kind of sick. Mister somebody comes to see me but I don’t feel well enough to go and so I go to bed.

[Thursday], July 4, [1901].

Everybody gone to some pleasure resort but me. Nellie and [other sister] Naomi go to Lagoon. Addie May stay home because I feel so tired and hat to go out alone so stay home to rest, but I can hear Pa say, “Tell Addie May to harness the horses to go and haul wheat.” So if you want to have anybody to haul wheat come to me and I will put a flea in your ear. Nellie and Naomi come home as gay as can be.

[Sunday], July 7, [1901].

Went to Sunday school and they all called me old stay-at-home because I did not go out more.

[Tuesday], July 16, [1901].

Wash almost all day. Then go to a Sunday school festival and have a good time. Come home with Mr. Luther and he tried to get me to say he can come to see me but I decline and I hardly know why.

[Wednesday], July 17th, [1901].

About 5 o’clock Pa says, “You let that strange outsider bring you home did you?” I says, “Yes, but are you sure he is an outsider?” They all said, “yes, he was.” And I told them I had been told that he was a Mormony [?] but I can now see why I could not say “yes” to his question last night. Of course you will know without me telling you that I got preached to a little. But I told Pa what had made my mind to do and you will see later. Well I work like a trooper until

Sunday, 21st [of July, 1901].

I go to Sunday school and go to meeting. Mr. Luther and others go too. We all walk. After meeting, we all go and get Uncle Joe’s folks to come up to supper. While eating Mr. L comes. He stays and spends the evening with me. And I can’t think of anything but one thing. Well to cut the story short, when he was going home he asked me to say what I wanted to do the 24 of July and he would be at pleasure to do what I wanted. Now what a box to be in. I wanted a company for the 24 the worst kind, but I stood and thought. And I know if I went this time, there could be something else. And the longer I leave it the harder it will be to stop. So I told him that I did not desire to ever keep company with anyone that did not believe as I did and it made him feel quite bad. Of course there was lots more said that could not do to pen here, but he said he did not think I was wise but he could not come to see me until I told him he could so he goes home and does not come to see me anymore.

[Wednesday], July 24, [1901].

Pa and we kids go over to East Bountiful to a program find nobody there but kids and babies [?] so come home. Nellie and I go to Lagoon on the 3:45 dummy [Bamberger Train] all alone with the exceptions of orders to come home at 8 o’clock. Get down to the dummy station. Mr. Luther and Wallie West jump out of the crowd and start towards us. I have to treat Mr. L as cool as a pig. But anyway he and West buy our tickets and Wallie West brings us home. Have a [?] time. Nell tries to get Wallie and so do I. I get him for a while.

[Saturday], July 27, [1901].

Getting ready for the lake. All of us gone out to the lake. I meet Wallie at the depot. He goes too. Came home late tired and sleepy. But Wallie was not sleepy for what do you think he does? Well, why he is going away and what does he do? Well, he proposes to me I guess that is what you call it. Well it was dark so that he could not see me blush and I had to turn my head a laugh for a thought he was crazy, and I told him I could not think of settling down in life so soon. He said he did not want me to settle down in live. But I deliberately declined and told him to let it rest awhile so he did. Well he goes away but I hear from him quite often.

[Sunday], August 4, [1901].

Wallie comes home. Bennett comes home. I go to Sunday school and find Bennett sitting in the corner and expect to see Wallie come in any minute, but he hears that Ben has come too so he stays home. Go to meeting, ride down to Howard, came home and all the folks telling me I will have to entertain both Wallie and Bennett but Wallie’s heart fails him and Bennett comes. And I feel shaky for fear Wallie might come. Well to cut a long story short, Bennett and I are good friends again and poor Wallie is broken hearted.



Addie May Wood and Bennett Peterson married 25 June 1902, Salt Lake Temple



  1. Wonderful! What a precious record to have in the family!

    Comment by Amy T — April 17, 2013 @ 7:53 am

  2. Thanks for sharing, this was great!

    Comment by kevinf — April 17, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

  3. This was fun to read, especially the surprise ending.

    Comment by Maurine — April 19, 2013 @ 1:06 am

  4. Thanks all for reading and enjoying.

    The sad end of this story is that Addie May died in 1909 after giving birth to five children, one died at birth. She neverr recovered from complications arising from the birth of her fifth child who did survive. The fourth, my grandfather, had no memory of his mother. They are reunited now.

    And we are so glad to have these wonderful glimpses into Great Grandma’s life when so few were able to know her. I have an oral history from the oldest child, my Grandpa’s sister, who had some memories of her mother but mostly of her death. Maybe we’ll do another sad posting for follow-up.

    Comment by Grant — April 19, 2013 @ 9:58 am

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