Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Few Minutes in Sanford, Colorado, 1889

A Few Minutes in Sanford, Colorado, 1889

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 06, 2014

The Quarterly Conf of the San Luis Stake of Zion convened at Sanford Colorado on the Seventeenth day of February AD 1889 at 10 oClock A.M.

Sanford Choir Sang “The morning breaks the shadows flee, Lo! Zion’s Standard is unfurled!”

Prayer by George W Irven.

Choir sang: “Once more we come before our God and more his blessing ask”

There were present on the stand Apostle J H. Smith, President S.S. Smith, and Counselors. Members of the high Council. Bishops of the various wards and counselors.

Pr S.S. Smith spoke said he was gratified of meeting the saints in conference for the first time in Sanford. Give a very favorable report of the peace and prosperity enjoyed by the saints of the stake. According to reports mostly all the saints are living their religion. Trusting that they all may [be] edified and instructed, giving a brief account of his late trip to Utah, feeling that God is blessing his people.

Bishop S.C. Berthelson reported the Sanford ward said he felt enjoying the spirit of God in reporting the blessings attending the people relating in the history of the saints when first made settlements in San Luis Valley 10 years ago. God has protected his people, and they should be thankful and acknowledge his blessings upon them, encouraging the people to be faithful to their duties, reporting all the organizations within the ward in good working conditions

First Counselor Edward Dalton addressed the conference, said he being glad to meet so many at this Quarterly conference, and said that our emigration is not coming now with wagons and teams and bringing with them such things as necessary for building up the country. Most of those coming here are without means, showing how great many people can stand poverty and when blessed with wealth are over t[h]rowen. Advised the people to not mortgage their lands as they will not be able to redeem their possessions. They must try to be self sustaining, to work for themselves, having stu[d]ied this matter for many years it is the best to obtain land and to be owners thereof, built homes for themselves, improve and beautify their homes, that they may enjoy their possessions. Spoke relative to his experiences and history of aposticy. The leaders of the church has always been teaching the people to be faithful to their covenants they have made to their heavenly Father, showing how plain the priesthood has been reveled in the doctrine of covenants, no man can be ordained to an office in the church without he be sustained by the vote of the people, by the way of warning explained the priesthood how to be confirmed upon men.

Choir sang an anthem. Adjourned until 2 oclock P.M. Benediction by Elder James Berthelson.


Conference met pursuant to adjournment at 2 oclock P.M. Called to order and choir sang “Priase Ye the Lord: tis good to raise Your hearts and Voices in his praise.”

Prayer by J J Murp0hy.

Choir sang: “Ye ransomed of our God, to Zion now return.”

The Sacrament was administered by Elders G.C. Berthelson, S.S. Smith, Wm Irven, and J J Murphy. Bishop John C. Dalton reported the Manassa ward, and said that according to the teachers report a majority of the people therein are trying to keep the commandments of God. The meetings in both School houses are well attended. People mostly pay their tithings. Sunday Schools are well attended, and the Relief Society is doing a good work, the premires [sic] also in working order

Elder J.B. Forbs spoke relative to work we are engage[d] being of God and reveled from him spoke of all great reformers being inspired as Columbus being inspired to do Gods work. As the pillgrames Fathers that followed the Word of God, established religious freedom all over the United States.

Apostle John H. Smith said he was pleased with the reports given by the Bishops, as it is a duty of the saints to seek always to improve, to reach the standard in time to come having before us the example of our saveur whom all men rec[o]gnize as a wonderful man, having power to heel the sick reprove all that done evil. We think upon them things and we can descover our own evils. We are Known as the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, taken upon us the responsibility of sainthood, spoke about the reformation by Martin Luther and other reformers as the romans church having permitted wrongs to be done and paying penalty by confessing of sins, begin forgiven by paying [a] few pen[ni]es, since has come under divine providence of God the young man lying the ax under the root of the tree with the holy writ of moral laws, showing us that every man must be responsible for his own deeds. Read the testimony of the Witnesses attached to the book of Mormon, explained how that book was reve[a]led and written by the prophet Joseph Smith and that these witnesses has born their testimony until their death, urging upon the people to read that book containing the History of the American Indians.

William Christenson Supt of Sabbath Schools said he has a desire to mingle his testimony with the brethern that had already spoken. We learn from holy books that God has a desire to built his church upon the rock of revelation, it being the proper way as God has dessigned for his work to [be] carried out through the chanel of revelations unto men showing how God as restored his Kingdom upon the earth, bore his testimony to the work of God, reported the various sabbeth schools of the Stake in good condition, teachers are doing good work in performing their duties, some new schools has been organized since last conference.

Choir sang “Awake ye saints of God awake, Call on the Lord in mighty prayer”

Benediction by Elder Samples.

Adjourned until the 18th instant at 10 oclock a m


Conference met as per adjournment at 10 oclock a m

Choir Sang “My God the spring of all my Joy, the life of my delights etc”

Prayer by Bro Howard K. Coray.

Choir sang, “Joy to the World the Lord will come, and earth receive her King” etc

A report from the Morgan branch of Sanford Ward was given by Joseph E Samples Preciding Priest reported the condition of the people favorably they having good crops, enjoy good health, and that the Relief society is in good condition, the Sabbeth School for some little time been rather neglected, there being no school room and the scattered state of the people, there is an anxiety for a Townsite and ward organization. Most of people here pay their tithing all seems to feel and interest in their religion

N.C. Heiselt spoke said he had visited the Blanco Branch the people felt well, had raised some grain & vegetables – Sabbeth School and meetings are regularly held and well attended. Reported favorably the condition of the Seventies Quorum, said we are preparing to preach the gospel which we have embraced make provisions of salvation for both living and the dead – was proud of the progress that had been made in the San Luis Stake of Zion, the principales in which we believe and practiced to our progress and advancement. Exhorted the Saints to diligence and faithfulness.

The Mutual Improvement association was reported by James Berthelson the report was faverable, said through this organization we had reached many who hereto fore have little interest felt that there is upon the part of most of the young an anxiety to learn the principales of the gospel.

H.S. Heiselt spoke, said we are gathered here to learn the ways of the Lord. Our gathering is preparatory work to the coming of our saveour our efforts should be to purify ourselves in body and Spirit that we may enjoy the blessing of the gospel

Apostle John H. smith addressed the conference, said he had been asked to answer the question, What is the duty of the teachers in the relief Society – the Relief society is a charitable institution. Teachers in the Relief Society should in case of sickness be careful to administer relief in a temperal way, but the duty of preaching, the labor of spiritual teaching, the imparting of Doctrine belongs to the organized Priesthood. No sister has a right to enter the household and preside therein and teach. Spoke of the responsibility resting upon the saints in relation to paying of tithes – no man or woman who has arrived to year[s] of accountability before God from the 1st to the last member baptized is exempt from this law, it is fixed by the Lord and it is irrevocable all income for the year is titheable, it is not legal in the sight of God to hold back tithing on any income for past losses or misfortunes.

Pt S.S. Smith said during our entermission for the Brothern to remain and a short Priesthood meeting could be held. The choir sang an anthem. Adjourned until 2 oclock P M. Benediction by J.C. Dalton.


After noon Session called to order at 2 oclock P M

Choir Sang “See all creation joins” etc

Prayer by M. Christenson. Choir sang “Great God attend while Zion sings the Joy that they preserve [?] springs.”

General and local authorities were presented by Pt Silas S. Smith and sustained.

Choir sang an anthem “Nearer my God to” and etc.

First Counsellor Edward Dalton addressed the conference, the subject of building meeting houses and especially the completion of the stake house, said tithing is not to be used for the building of meeting houses, that such work should and usually is done by donations from the people. It is greatly disered that we will be willing to put forth an effort and complete the building. Which we have begun, before the rainy season that we may have a place of shelter, a protection from the rains and winds

Pt Silas S. smith was the next speaker, said he much appreciated the energy of Bro Dalton in trying as he had done to bring together means to erect the stake building, was gratified with meeting the people in conference – encouraged with the manafest increase of the people – said we have enjoyed here a season of peace and rest — all should be careful to attend to his legitimate business – we have been commend by people of the State for our industry, and for our having done so much to develop the resources of the State especially in an agricultural way – was Glad of the presence of apostle John H. Smith, felt blessed by his presence and strengthened by his counsel and advise said we have reasons to be encouraged with our success, this far in this Valley, asked the faith and prayers of the saints that he might be sustained and be able to discharge his duties he felt gratefied and greatful for testimonies of those who had spoken also to the choir who had faithfully made music for the conference.

Apostle John H. Smith said the standing and fellowship he held among the saints were to him more dear then all else, prayed that the saints might hold fast labor to maintain their integrity and have the blessing of our heavenly Father

Choir san[g] an anthem.

Conference adjourned for three months

Benediction by patriarch Ed Dalton.



  1. It undoubtedly goes without saying (at least for long-time readers of the blog) that many of the Saints living in the San Luis Valley were converts from the Southern States Mission, who had made the trek across the country by train in the 1870s (?) and 1880s.

    The settlements — Manassa, Sanford, Morgan, etc. — were sometimes used as a refuge for polygamous families, but that wasn’t always successful since there were federal marshals in Colorado as well as in Utah. (See Ronald Walker, “A Mormon ‘Widow’ in Colorado the Exile of Emily Wells Grant.”)

    Comment by Amy T — February 6, 2014 @ 9:34 am

  2. I truly enjoyed the article. It was very nice, my people came with John Morgan to Manassa and then to Sanford. My Catawba called Sanford home. There are still Cantys in Sanford. My husband’s people also called Sanford home, the Crowthers of San Pete co and others, a good many Danish.
    I am saving this article, because they would have been in the audiences. I hope for photos to follow your blogging. The southern Saints mostly came in 1887-90.

    Comment by Judy Canty Martin — February 6, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

  3. A great pleasure to read. I didn’t recognized any former Tennesseans named, but I’m sure many were in attendance. John Smith seems to have figured into frequently into the San Luis area history. Did he have some connection? Was it his area?

    Comment by Bruce Crow — February 7, 2014 @ 6:01 am

  4. Bruce, I’ve noticed as I read reports of conference tours made by various general authorities that many of them seem to return to the same areas frequently. I don’t know whether that was by deliberate assignment by region, or whether the men chose their own routes because of family or business or other considerations, or whether it was purely random.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 7, 2014 @ 9:34 am

  5. John Henry Smith was married to Josephine Groesbeck (his second wife) and he had a lot of business dealings with the Groesbeck family.

    Another general authority, John Morgan, generally seen as the founder of the San Luis Valley settlements, had also married into the Groesbeck family (his first wife Mellie) and had a number of common business and family and church interests.

    The two men both had plural wives living in the San Luis Valley. In John Henry Smith’s case, it was Josephine, and she lived there from 1888 to 1896. In John Morgan’s case it was his second wife Annie Smith (not related to John Henry) and she lived there from when they were married, I believe, until the end of her life. One of Annie’s children married a Heiselt, a name mentioned in these minutes.

    When John Morgan died suddenly in 1894 from so-called typhoid-malaria, probably a result of his Civil War or Southern States Mission service, John Henry Smith would check in on the Morgan widows and made sure they were doing okay.

    I don’t know if John Henry Smith had any other ties to the area.

    Comment by Amy T — February 7, 2014 @ 10:02 am

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