Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 17 November – 15 December 1918

Venus in Tahiti: 17 November – 15 December 1918

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 20, 2014

(Previous installment)

Sun. Nov. 17, 1918

After meeting we called up to see the new babies to Tepori & Pai, and Bebe & Makino.

Mon. Nov. 18, 1918

Children’s class. Rauana & Ruita came I to learn some new embroidery & tatting stitches. Corn pudding & eggs for Elders.

Tues. Nov. 19, 1918

Worked most of day on the Relief Society branch books, getting data for the annual report. While here at Hickueru the saints have been donating one shell a day for the support of the elders which has amounted to about $75 each for the Elders, which had been more than enough for their support during the five months they have been here, and has been a very great help to them.

Wed. Nov. 20, 1918

Last night shortly after midnight we were awakened by firing of guns & cheering and were soon informed that the Great War in Europe was ended. Two vessels had arrived from Papeete with the news when a five days celebration had been held over the great event. Great excitement prevailed and all the rest of the night the people were marching through the streets in a procession, carrying flags & singing national songs. Church bells rang loud & long & gun firing & native singing and dancing lasted until day light. The Catholics held a thanksgiving prayer meeting in the middle of the night. We also held on at 8: am this morning. The government has declared a holiday of two days on the island for feasting & contests in singing, dancing & all sort of native feats. We are certainly excited and grateful over the news although we out here in the peaceful Pacific, who have heard and felt so little the terrible effects of this great war, cannot realize to the fullest what peace really means, as those who have been caused to suffer so much through it.

Thurs. Nov. 21, 1918

I conducted children’s class at 8: a.m. Sewing class at 11: am and Relief Society meeting at 3: pm.

Fri. Nov. 22, 1918

Today and to-morrow are set apart to celebrate the ending of the war. At 8: am the flag raising, firing of cannons and a patriotic program was conducted on the veranda of the Government house with a reception & general hand shaking at 10: am. At 3: pm field sports were engaged in & the evening a contest of native singing and dancing was conducted. At noon Elder Hubbard had a birthday dinner at our house for all of the Elders.

Hickueru, Society Islands Sat. Nov. 23, 1918

The second day of celebration for the Victory of the Allied Nations in the great worlds war. The news having just reached this remote place two day previous to this date: Elder Albert S. Touse received his release to return home after 40 months of missionary service in this field.

Sun. Nov. 24, 1918

Attended 5 meetings. Mahino and Bebe had their new baby boy blessed and named Tehei.

Mon. Nov. 25, 1918

Spent almost the entire day collecting data for the Annual Relief Society report from the different branch records, also stamping embroidery designs on pillow slips for the native sisters. The governor of the Tuamotus has asked Ern to translate the Armistice between Germany & the Allies, from French into the English language which he is doing to-day.

Tues. Nov. 26, 1918

Two vessels arriving from Pappete [sic] brought the news that a deadly plague had broken out among the European nations, also in America and New Zealand, and that people were dying from it by the thousands. That all boat service between America & New Zealand via Thaiti [sic] had been suspended, and one mail vessel, the Naviua was now under quarentine at Papeete two of her crew having died aboard on its way from Frisco to Tahiti. Elders Touse& Hubbard left by the Neolina for Tahiti, Elder Touse having received his release to return home & Elder Hulbert to go to Tahiti to have his teeth attended.

Wed. Nov. 27, 1918

Conducted sewing class; Mr Lucas the Gov. of the Tuamotus in conversation with Pres. Rossiter made the remark that if all the natives in the Tuamotus were Mormons there would be no more need of courts and policeman.

Thurs. Nov. 28,1918

Conducted sewing class & Relief Society meetings.

Fri. Nov. 29, 1918

Worked on branch books. Paea gave Pres. $12 to be divided among the Elders.

Sat. Nov.30, 1918

Held Elders priesthood meeting.

Sun. Dec. 1, 1918

Fast Sunday. Pai and Tepou had their new baby blessed & named Turoa.Temehau & Hamani were set apart as missionaries to assist the husbands on the islands of Vaitahai & Tubuai.

Mon. Dec 2, 1918

The diving season having closed Sat. the saints are all busy tearing down their houses and preparing to leave for their own lands.

Tues. Dec 3, 1918

Spent the day making dresser scarfs which Tuara had asked me to embroider for her daughters at Papeete.

Wed. Dec. 4, 1918

Commenced packing our boxes to leave for Tahiti. Attended meeting in the evening

Thurs. Dec 5, 1918

Conducted Relief Society meeting. Tehuihui was set apart as 1st Coun. of the Hickerue Society by Pres. Rossiter, & Tukura as Sec’y of the Taenga branch by Elder Burton; most of our saints left by the Papeete. Rungiravo left us a box of chickens that he could not take with him. Tane a Tane and Tamarua each made the Elders a present of ten dollars $20 in all to assist them in preaching the gospel.

Fri. Dec. 6, 1918

Sat around all day expecting our boat the Suzanne to leave hourly. All of us gathered up to Elder Burtons house in the evening to make some fudge. Visited Riuta Johnstaima.

Sat. Dec 7, 1918

Left Hickueru by the Suzanne a small trading vessel which was overloaded with cargo and passengers. We were oblidged to remain on deck the entire trip, and were so crowded for space that we were afforded only a sitting position most of the way, until part of the natives were deposited at their islands on the way day [down?].We were drenched to the skin three times during the night and remained so until the sun came out next morning to dry us and our baggage out.

Sun. Dec. 8, 1918

Heat was intense. We made sort of a protection for our heads by throwing a blanket over our umbrella. Were drenched once during the day. Arrived towards evening at Mahimo. Several of our Saints had arrived there earlier in the day & made arrangements for us to stay in a little tin hut that belonged to some of their relatives. Wasn’t able to sleep that night, very sick at the stomache and vomiting all night.

Mon. Dec 9, 1918

Several native friends called to see us & gave us some pretty heis and baskets of young cocoanuts. Set sail again about dark. Taeki one of the young native girls I had chosen to go to Papeete to study the organ, grew faint-hearted at the last moment & could not leave her aged father who was nearly broken hearted at the thought of parting with her, so she remained with him at Mahimo. About midnight at sea, I was stricken with terrible pains in my head neck lungs & limbs, which kept getting worse until I felt that I could hardly endure it any longer, so I asked my husband to lay his hands on me & bless me which he did and I was much relieved. At the time we thought I was suffering from poisoning.

Tues. Dec. 10, 1918

Arrived at the island of Katiu where we remained three days & nights while I had time to regain my strength enough to continue onto Tahiti. We have a few Saints here and were received well by them. All day I lay in the shade of the trees down by the wharf. Ern had several gospel conversation[s] among them one with a Mr. Lucas a white man, Governor of the island. I was unable to eat the nice chicken Matuanui prepared for us, and when I drank cold water which was the only thing I could hold, the pain in my chest was terrific. We slept that night is [in] a small rusty tin hut on pillows that smelled so strong of the cocoanut oil the natives put on their hair, that we could hardly sleep.

Wed. Dec 11,1918

The saints brought us a nice chicken a can of beef and some buisquits. In the afternoon I was taken worse. Ern put me in hot water then the sisters Tearo & Tukaro massaged me with olive oil, while Ern retired to the brush to pray for me. Couldn’t sleep all night, had to remain in a sitting posture the pain was so intense. Ern wanted to hire Mr Palmer[’s] light gasoline boat and rush me to Tahiti, but I told him I didn’t think that would be necessary, since he had offered pray[er] for me

Thurs. Dec. 12, 1918

Felt much better. Ern walked about the village conversing on the gospel to all who would listen to him. In the evening when the young people were gathered to-gether to sing, he asked for the privilege of speaking to them, which they accepted & were attentive while he talked to them of their lineage & forefathers

Fri. Dec. 13, 1918

Left Katiu. Dead calm & machine broken, heat intense. Drenched during the night & lay in out [our] wet clothing until the sun dried us out next day.

Sat. Dec. 14, 1918

Arrived at Anna [Anaa], Ern went ashore and bought some food as the captain of the ship had given us nothing but a cup of hot water for breakfast and some liquid soup for supper, ever since we left Hickueru, & we were beginning to feel the effects of it and getting weak. We were however paying $5 a day passage.

Sun. Dec 15, 1918

Dead calm & heat terrific. Were drenched three times during the day.

(To be continued)


1 Comment »

  1. I read stories like this and try again to imagine what it felt like for that war to be over. I know I can’t really, but it feels good anyway.

    Comment by Carol — April 20, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

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