Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 25 February – 25 March 1917

Venus in Tahiti: 25 February – 25 March 1917

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 27, 2013

(Previous installment)

Papeete Sun. Feby 25, 1917

Usual Sunday at Papeete. Just a few at Sunday School & meeting. sang for a while after church.

Mon Febr. 26, 1917

Felt all morning that Ern would be coming in and surprising us, and not long after I had spoken about it to Sis. Compton he walked into the house dirty, brown & unshaven, carrying a bundle of clothes, tied up in a bright red & white cloth on his arm. He brought me a beautiful pearl from Mahotu. In the evening he & I walked down to Terai’s to take his dirty clothes & down to Mr Drollet’s to pay for Joseph III which he had just finished translat[ing] for us.

Tues. Feb. 27, 1917

Did a two weeks wash besides stretching three pairs of curtains. Had two teeth filled at the dentist.

Feb. 28, Mon. 1-2-3, 1917

Worked at mission house.

Sun March 4, 1917

Held Sunday School at 1: am & Fast-meeting at 3: pm. Mrs. Henry came to tell us there would be no more sewing for the Red Cross. Relief Society.

Tues. March 6, 1917

Mrs Chapman came over to tell us that her daughter Marian had lost her baby with croup the night before, and asked us if we would sing at the funeral, which we gladly consented to do.

Papeete March 7, 1917

Attended the funeral of Mr & Mrs Foxes baby Arthur. The services were conducted by the Seventh Day Adventist minister & Sister Compton & I sang “The Lord Is My Shepherd” & “Sometime We’ll Understand” and out at the cemetery we sang “I Need Thee Every Hour.” Mr Fox is a Pennsylvanian and Mrs Fox is a quarter caste native, but has spent a greater part of her life in the states.

Thurs. March 8, 1917

Sister Compton, Terai, and I went shopping all morning to buy clothing for natives & Elders who are in the Tuamotus. I also bought a little plaid gingham dress to send to Torikis little blind girl, Matapo a Teura.

Fri. March 9, 1917

Worked in the mission office all day. At night Marian & her mother came over to get a copy of the songs we had sung at her babys funeral.

Sat. March 10, 1917

Saturday cleaning. Finished our letters & took them down to the post office. There was a old lady there buying stamps who was carrying a small lard bucket which she used as her hand bag.

Sun. March 11, 1917

Held S.S. & Sacrament at 10: am & 3: pm. A man from Pitcairn Island called to see us, & we all went down to their ship later [and he gave?] Sister and I each a [fan?] made of hand painted leaves. [The work?] was entirely hand made, even the nails, which were hammered from bits of iron they had procured from passing boats. (See history of Pitcairn Island). At night Sister & [I] ran over to call on a family by the name of Stewart who had recently moved into the neighborhood.

Mon. March 12, 1917

The “Moana” arrived from America bringing tow new Elders. Bro. Jos. Bulkley of Burley Idaho & Jesse Heslop of West Weber Utah. There were also two French boys that had returned home to Tahiti for one month furlough. One of them had had his hip & thigh blown off & the flesh of a dead comrade grafted on to his body. The boat arrived at 5: pm but they did not get the mail out until 11:30 pm on account of so much having accumulated in two months. Coming home from the post office at that hour, we stayed up until after 2: am to read it. Mrs. Falco went down to the boat with us.

Tues. March 13, 1917

Up again at 6:am to get the washing started. The Elders trunks were brought up from the custom offices & we all received a lot of packages from home. We received a five pound box of chocolates from mother & Sadie & two pounds from Sister Compton’s people. Some handkerchiefs, a ribbon bag & hose from Nettie & George, and pictures of Ardath Ruth Timmerman, Ede & Wills new home & some kodak pictures from mother showing the heavy snows at home. At night Sister & I went down to Terai’s to take a letter, some pictures & a silk handkerchief that Eugene Cannon, who was a missionary here 25 years ago, had sent to her.

Wed. March 14, 1917

Ironed, and worked in the office the rest of the day getting the mission paper out. Held a splendid priesthood meeting & Elder Compton was appointed to go to Hikueru & Elder burton to Takaroa, the two new Elders to remain in Papeete.

Thurs. March 15, 1917

Went shopping for the Elders in the upper Islands. Washed in the office.

Fri. March 16, 1917

Felt miserable all day. The Stewart family called in the evening & we sang several songs for them.

Sat. March 17, 1917

President Rossiter was all ready to leave on the St. Francois for Hao & Marokau, but when he went for his ticket the Co. Naval wanted to charge him $80 for his ticket instead of $40 which they had told him it would cost when he called to enquire several days previous, so he decided to leave the following day with Elder Compton for Hikueru, & from there on to Marakau where one of our conferences is to be held.

Sun. March 18, 1917

Pres. Rossiter & Elder Compton had arranged to take passage on Mr. Nicolos boat for Marakau and went down several times during the morning to ask when it left, and each time they told them not for a few hours yet but as soon as they were ready they would send some one up to our house to let them know. About noon Elder Compton went down to the wharf again to find the boat had gone & left them. It seemed that for some unknown reason that President Rossiter was not supposed to go to the conference at Marokau, so he decided them & there it was intended for him to go to Rangiroa. After our afternoon meeting, we held an English service for the people from Pitcairn Island who had come to our meeting. Afterwards we went over to the house where we took turns singing hymns to one another. They sang very well for people who live on a little island shut off from the outside world.

One of our Josephite friends from Tikihau came up for some copies of our March paper, for when he received his number he took it over to the Josephite ministers wife who refused to return it to him because it had an article in it that justified rebaptism.

Mon. March 19, 1917

Elder Compton left on the “Susanne” for Marokau. I did some sewing & mending for Elders Heslop & Bulkley.

Tues. March 20, 1917

Pres. & I had quite an audience in the main street of Papeete this morning, when we were talking with Tane a Josephite native missionary. He got so warmed up that he commenced yelling out & throwing his arms in the air calling Pres. Rossiter a liar, over & over again. The street was blocked up with autos, buggies & bycycles whose occupants had stopped to listen to the discussion. Even some prisoners who were working on the road stopped to listen.

In the evening Pres., Elder Burton & I walked out to Porois where we had quite a discussion about the seventy day. Also called to see Marthe Krauser.

Wed. March 21, 1917

Terai sent word for me to come down that she was sick, so Pres & I called to see her & take some medicine to her. Pres & Elder Burton left for Rangiroa on the “France Australe.” Called to see Terai again on the way home from the wharf. Held language class in the evening with the new Elders.

Thurs. March 22

After breakfast took some food & medicine down to Terai & called in to see Mrs Fox on the way back. When we returned Mr & Mrs Harvey some fellow passengers of Elders Bulkley & Heslop on the “Moana” were at the house. I gave a strand of native beads to Mrs. Harvey.

Fri. March 23, 1917

Took some medicine down to Terai. Teraka ma came over in the evening to sing.

Sat. March 24, 1917

Toae was sick with a high fever & I went up there three times during that day. Towards evening he asked to be administered to, so Elders Bulkley and Heslop administered to him. I gave a dress that was too small for me to Maupha, and another one to Teua a Toae because she had only one dress to her name. Sister and I went to town to get a bill of goods & arranged to have them shipped on the “Tamaru Moorea.” We met Mr & Mrs. Harvey of Vancouver in town and walked with them down to the wharf to see an English vessel that was in port. We had quite a conversation with them about Mormonism and they seemed quite interested. I also took two books down to Miss Huntley to read treating on salvation for the dead.

Sun. March 25, 1917

With all the old elders in the islands I was oblidged to conduct Sunday School & Sacrament meeting. After meeting we all walked out with Maupha to see an old couple who had just come down from Niheru. They were living with the old ladies daughter who is a bitter Catholic and the old couple acted as though they were frightened to death to have us there. They said they wanted to come in to the meetings, but the young people wouldn’t let them take the horse & buggy, and they were unable to walk. On our way back we called in to see Fuerau & Mahana. Fuerau is just a young girl, but she had taken a little white baby six months old to raise. The old couple we called to see gave us two dollars for their tithing offering.

(To be continued)



  1. I look forward to these posts. They are reminders of the quiet, unsung, and often wrenching day-to-day sacrifices over a period of decades by members of the Church around the world that were indeed laying the foundation of a great work.

    Comment by bfwebster — October 27, 2013 @ 11:15 am

  2. Stretching curtains? Darn. I knew there was something I was forgetting to do.

    She sure does sound much healthier and happier than just a couple of installments ago. It seems like we have the charming old Venus back. What a treasure this diary is! What adventures they had! The sad times — the baby’s funeral — and the funny ones, too, including the Josephite missionary stopping traffic.

    Oh, the baby was Arthur Brinton Fox (1916-1917), the son of Lewis White Fox (1875-1957) and Marion Alice Hewson Brinton Fox (1895-1978). It looks like Marion’s Tahitian grandmother may have relatives or descendants in the Church since a lot of family temple work has been done in the Papeete Tahiti Temple.

    Comment by Amy T — October 27, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

  3. Wonderful, Amy! And I like knowing you’re one of the Venusians, bfwebster.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 27, 2013 @ 3:56 pm

  4. I wonder how many “autos” there were on the island in 1917.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — October 27, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

  5. For the first time Venus explains at least why she was at the dentist… this time to get fillings. That’s such a in-and-out procedure these days… I hope all of those past trips took care of other things… I”d hate to think they were all prelude to this one procedure.

    Comment by Chad Too — October 28, 2013 @ 8:49 am

  6. Aha! “Oblidged” to conduct Sacrament meeting!

    Now, when I ask the Relief Society President to conduct Sacrament Meeting one day, I’ve at least got some historical precedent.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 28, 2013 @ 8:56 am

  7. And I suspect you’ll find some way to send all the male leaders to Tahiti, to enhance the historical resemblance.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 28, 2013 @ 9:12 am

  8. About February that would sound awfully nice!

    Comment by Mark B. — October 28, 2013 @ 9:27 am

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