Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Few Minutes in the Chicago Branch, 1909

A Few Minutes in the Chicago Branch, 1909

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 13, 2014

Sunday, November 14th 1909

Meeting commenced by singing Hymn 139 (Our Mountain Home so Dear) followed by prayer by Bro. Ephraim Ericson. The Choir then sang Hymn No 58 (Hark, Listen to the Trumpeters)

Whilst the Sacrament was being administered by Elder E.W. Polsen & Elder Wesley E. Smith, the hymn on page 70 was also sung by the Choir.

Certificates of Temporary membership were read & approved of, Bro W. Weech, from the Pine Grove Ward, Union Stake.

A Bottle of Oil was then consecrated by Elder F.P. Hammond, assisted by Elders Lattimer & President Jos. A. Geddes.

Elder Judd, who is a delegate from Utah to the National Land Congress, was the speaker. He gave a history of his life, told how he accepted the Gospel in England & described the trials & difficulties of Crossing the Plains. He dealt fully with the progress of the Church in its early days, & bore a faithful testimony to the Gospel, & the principles of the True Church in these last days.

Hymn 140 (Now Let us Rejoice in the Day of Salvation) was afterwards rendered by all present.

Prayer by Elder Lattimer.

Attendance 116

Sunday November 21st 1909

Meeting commenced by singing Hymn 126. Prayer by Elder Lattimer. Followed by singing Hymn 189.

Whilst the Sacrament was being administered by Elders Sterm & J.C. Holly, the choir sang Hymn 478 (Jesus Once of Humble Birth)

The speaker on this occasion was Apostle John Henry Smith from the Apostles Quorum. He took as his text Rev. 20th: 12th Verse: “And I saw the dead small & great.” He stated his belief & reasons, in the verse read, & said our words & actions would be judged by the All Wise God from the Books mentioned.

He also gave a brief history of the initiation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, & the preparatory work of Joseph Smith, & some of the revelations to him. He spoke of the 10 Commandments & exhorted his hearers to live faithfully up to them.

Elder Smith emphasized the importance of Faith, Repentance & Baptism, showing the infinite wisdom & love & mercy of our Heavenly Father for all his children. Apostle Smith touched upon the subject of Baptism for the Dead, & the great redemption by our Saviour for all mankind, in this world & beyond the grave. Concluding his remarks, he talked of the great mission of Mormonism & its blessings to the world, describing it as the world’s richest gem for saints or sinners. A Quartet was rendered at this juncture.

Notices were made for the following Sunday.

Concluding Prayer by Bro. Merrill.

Attendance 135

Sunday November 28th 1909

Meeting commenced by singing Hymn 133. Prayer by Elder A.L. Curtiss. The Choir then sang Hymn 163.

During the administration of the Sacrament, by Elder Van Der Does & Elder A.F. Wade, Hymn 115 was sung by the Choir.

Certificates of Membership were read and approved, by Elder Wilford Wm. Beck, & Emma Johnson Beck, from the 1st Ward in the Liberty Stake, Utah.

Elder Hammond announced a meeting of the Relief Society & the Local Priesthood acting teachers; after this present session.

He also gave a few instructions to the saints present, with regard to receiving those who visit them, & advised all to gather their families if possible, to hear the remarks of the Teachers.

Elder W.A. Sorenson who has been a missionary nearly two years was the first speaker. He bore his testimony & dealt with the common beliefs of the Christian world, & contrasted them with the prophets of old, & the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Elder E.R. South was the second speaker. He spoke on the Ten Commandments, & the revelations from Almighty God and its effects upon us, especially the value of example, coupled with influence.

Hymn 58 was sung by congregation & choir.

Concluding Prayer by President Jos. A. Geddes.

Attendance 92

Sunday Nov 28th 1909

Meeting convened by the President as a Joint Meeting of the Relief Society & the local Priesthood.

Meeting opened by singing Hymn 93. Prayer by Bro. G. Whowell.

President Geddes thought it might be expedient to have a joint meeting, & to explain to all present the wisdom of each doing their duty in the noble work of the Church, & not leave most of the work to be done by a few faithful ones.

He said the Relief Society was a very valuable auxiliary of the Church, & he exhorted all the sisters to rally round the officers, & do the best they could, either in visiting, Spiritual work, or sick nursing.

Sister Stark was then set apart as 2nd Counsellor to President Dennison, being ordained by Elder Hammond, assisted by Elders Geddes & Stark.

Adjournment was made to another room, where the usual Priesthood meeting was held. 9 Present.

Minutes were read & approved after corrections.

President Geddes explained the reason fo the meager attendance. He said this Teachers work was doing good, among those we visit, & it did good to ourselves. If each one says to himself, I am going to make a success of it, we are going to do much more good. He pointed out the assignments were being wisely made for the assistance of those visiting, both for local & Foreign brethren, of all nationalities. He hoped the work would go on & prosper, & that we would all continue in the good work.

Reports were made by Bros. Geddes, Zikdtke, Rathert, Whowell, Stark, Hammond.

Brother Hammond spoke of the good influence of these Priesthood Meetings, & suggested, when it was not possible to make a visit, we should leave or send a Postcard & state why not visited.

Elder D. Latimer spoke of the importance of Priesthood work, & so everyone should let nothing hinder its efficiency.

Bro Johnston commended the brethren & gave instances of the benefit of visiting. He loved loyalty to God & in temporal affairs. This work was the master’s & we ought to be thankful for the Holy Priesthood & do our work faithfully & well. When we visit the saints let us prepare ourselves spiritually for it.

Previous to opening the meeting Bro. Karl Leslie Berg was ordained a teacher by President Geddes, assisted by Bro Stark & Johnstone.

Prayer by Bro Stark concluded the proceedings.

December 5th 1909

Fast Meeting commenced by singing Hymn 14. Prayer was offered by Bro. Edwin Sheets. Followed by singing Hymn 165.

The sacrament was administered by Elders W.G. Palmer and Elder W.A. Sorenson, the choir meanwhile singing Hymn 47.

A Bottle of Oil was consecrated by President Ellsworth, assisted by Elders Jos. A. Geddes, Starck, F.G. Hammond, & N. Johnston.

Testimonies were borne by Elder F.P. Hammond, Ray Hatch, Lettie Burnett, Sister J.H. Berg, Bro. Folson, Elder Ephraim Ericson, Elder Curtiss & President Ellsworth.

Hymn 75 was then sung by the Choir.

Concluding Prayer by Elder Starck.

Attendance 86

Sunday Dec. 12th 1909

Meeting commenced by singing Hymn 205. Prayer by Bro. Openshaw. Hymn 95 by the Choir.

Sacrament was administered by Elders Shumway & Overson, the choir meanwhile singing Hymn 110.

The first speaker was Elder Curtis. He dealt with the great blessing of Mormonism, and its mission upon the earth.

He spoke of the simple character of the laws & ordinances of the gospel, and contrasted with its simple character, its manifold benefits. He showed also the value of testimony; and bore a faithful testimony himself.

President Ellsworth thought it wise & expedient to give a brief resume of the late Conference. He spoke of the tendency of the work, & some of the saints, to immorality and sin. We should guard against this and always be virtuous.

He quoted form the Doct & Cov. to show we receive not a fulness of grace at first, but little by little as we could grasp it & receive it.

This was a great shock to the world, that we could not be saved at once. He asked all present to bear their message to others in reason, with love. He also spoke of the noble truth as verified in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.

Choir & congregation sang Hymn 151

Prayer by Elder F.P. Hammond closed the services.

Attendance 77



  1. I was intrigued by the “National Land Congress” and found this:

    “The National Farm Land Congress held in Chicago on November 16-20,1909, inclusive. The objects of the Congress are as follows: By the general diffusion of knowledge of America’s farm lands to educate end accurately inform the people of the entire country as to the possibilities for the developments of all lands within the United States and the opportunities for the homeseeker to achieve independent life and fortune; to promote the movement for farm land-reclamation and farm development; the settling, the colonization and bringing into permanent productive use of all lands now unsettled and uncultivated, or not fully cultivated; to advance farm knowledge, and generally encourage agriculture and the farm home building spirit of the American people. It will endeavor to establish some form of National organization broad enough to co-ordinate the efforts of similar bodies working in special fields to the same general end, and to establish means by which the homeseeker may most easily and quickly secure definite, accurate and reliable information as to the lands and opportunities; the advantages and and disadvantages of any section to which he may be attracted.”

    The Farm Home: The Advocate of Good Farming and Good Living, Vol. 32, No, 333 (Springfield, Illinois 1910) p.7

    Comment by Grant — August 13, 2014 @ 8:37 am

  2. The name Edwin Sheets sounded familiar; turns out there was a man of that name in the story of Andrew Julius Miller, the Swedish immigrant whose story Ardis told so memorably here at Keepa.

    And, I wonder how the local Saints felt about the singing of “Our Mountain Home So Dear” in 1909?

    Comment by Amy T — August 13, 2014 @ 9:25 am

  3. I love the writing style—very easy to read and follow. I wonder if he took shorthand of some sort during the meeting, and then copied and embellished his notes longhand into the official record?

    Comment by Matt — August 13, 2014 @ 10:04 am

  4. Apparently, the choir sang during the administration of the sacrament. Wonder how the logistics of that worked. I am also surprised to see that the consecration of oil being done in sacrament meeting. I wonder if the instruction at the time was that it had to be done in a meeting, and not at home with a couple of MP holders to do it.

    Comment by kevinf — August 13, 2014 @ 11:56 am

  5. This is probably a little off-topic, but Elder Judd’s comment about trekking west made me think about personal connections to the past, about how I cherish my own and miss those of others. I vividly recall Jean Bickmore White commenting almost off-handedly about how her mother, who was still alive at the time Jean told me this, could recall as a little girl meeting Wilford Woodruff.

    Comment by Gary Bergera — August 13, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

  6. I suspect that the instructions in the handbook that music not be performed during the administration of the sacrament is directed at those with long memories who remember a time when that was done. It seems that it might have been difficult to keep the sopranos singing as they received the sacrament, though. I’d be interested to know how they did it.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 13, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

  7. I remember men consecrating oil in sacrament meeting in the sixties. And I remember someone saying that it’s important to consecrate the oil and not the “bottle of oil”.

    Comment by Carol — August 13, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

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