Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog

“I Take Up My Pen”: St. Joseph Stake, 1898

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 09, 2014



Chaney Redd Cunningham: A Slave in Zion

By: Amy Tanner Thiriot - April 09, 2014

The name Chaney means “oak” in French (chêne). The oak is not the tallest, not the largest, not the longest-lived, not the strongest tree. It is not the most notable in any category but one: it specializes in not specializing. Oaks are all-around hardworking, reliable trees, widely distributed throughout the world, a valuable food source in olden times, and building blocks of civilizations.

Utah pioneer Chaney was, like an oak, not the most notable of the early black pioneers to Utah — names like Jane Manning James and Green Flake come more quickly to mind — but she is remembered as a faithful family servant and member of the Church in the early Mormon settlements. (more…)


By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 08, 2014


By Ruth May Fox

On a glorious Sabbath morning in the ages long ago,
In the most delightful garden ever armed by summer’s glow,
Where the roses, pinks and lilies and the modest violet vied
With the graceful waving pampas and the dahlia’s stately pride,

Where stood trees all richly laden with fruits of every kind,
Where sweet aromatic odors floated softly on the wind,
That gently stirred the leaflets as the sunbeam’s shimmered through
Showing figs all ripe and luscious and the citrons dainty hue.

Not a weed was in the garden nought to mar the charming scene,
While rippling through this centre was a placid silvery stream
And birds of brighter plumage gaily flitted to and fro
Chirping, twitting, sweet songs singing on that morning long ago.

In this paradise enchanting roamed a stalwart noble man
In the image of his Maker, comprehend it if you can,
By his side a lovely woman for a helpmeet unto him,
Not his slave nor yet his servant ham’ring every foolish whim,

Not his cook, O happy woman! it was theirs to pluck and eat,
Not his seamstress, for their toilet nature’s garb made all complete.
But with him to hold dominion over every living thing,
On the earth, beneath the water, and the birds of varied wing.

Together they held possession of this highly favored land,
Together they stood and listened to the Father’s grave command,
Together received His blessing and the promise of His care
If they would try to serve Him and remember Him in prayer.

And together we must labor gentle woman, earnest man,
For the lifting up of nations and restore the ancient plan
And together have dominion and make this earth an Eden,
For know to make a perfect man, you must have Eve and Adam.


Breaking Ground

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 08, 2014

George Albert Smith, breaking ground for the Primary Children’s Hospital, 1 April 1949:



Not in Faith Crisis? What’s Wrong with You?

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 08, 2014

Some of Keepa’s readers are struggling with faith – a recent anonymous commenter said, “I’m having a tough time, but I’m hopeful.” I’m glad you’re here, I’m humbled that something brought you to Keepa, I hope you hang on and find reasons for “the hope that is within you.” I think it would help to have made life worthwhile if sometime I learned that Keepa had helped someone hang on, or come back.

Several of my favorite Keepa readers left the Church long ago, but read because it is a comfortable and fun way to reconnect with the Church of their childhood, recalling memories of loved grandparents or pleasant hours with the Children’s Friend, or other nostalgic moments. I’m glad you’re here, and grateful for what you contribute.

Most Keepa readers seem to be believing, practicing members of the Church, or, if you’re not currently active for whatever reason, you still consider yourselves Latter-day Saints and feel a connection to the Church. Plus, you all have some interest in Mormon history.

This post is aimed mostly at the third group – the believers and practicers – and if you’re not a member of that third group, please don’t take offense. This is not meant as a slight to you.


Because of the Word, Chapter 1 (of 6)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 07, 2014

From the Relief Society Magazine, 1961-62 –

Because of the Word

By Hazel M. Thomson

Chapter 1

The brightness of the oaks and maples tried vainly to cheer Ruth Ann Barker as she completed her farm chores. Her eyes looked often toward Boston, a day’s journey to the east, where living had become very gracious in the early eighteen hundreds. It vexed her that her father insisted on remaining in the Naumkeg Valley which was practically the same as living on the frontier.

There were no Indians, that was true, but the land itself had proved almost as hostile. The back-breaking work had taken its toll. Many times Ruth Ann had blamed it for her mother’s early death.

“I know nothing but farming,” her father always answered to her pleas. “I could not earn a living in Boston.”

“We could get along. Uncle John would help us.”


“I Take Up My Pen”: Weber Stake Young Men’s MIA, 1901

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 07, 2014



Marching in Primary and Sunday School

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 07, 2014

Sometimes a 21st century Mormon will pick up a Primary or Sunday School songbook from long ago and discover a small selection of music (usually music only, without lyrics), labeled “Marches” and jump to the conclusion that Mormon children of past decades were drilled in marching in some kind of creepy Hitler Youth-like mindless inculcation of obedience. Around the block, or up and down church hallways, armies of children marching in lockstep … That has been suggested here on Keepa in years past.

Here’s what’s really behind those marches in our historic songbooks.

From 1920:

The preliminary or opening exercises [of Sunday School] are intended to prepare the mind and soul of the pupil for the reception of the lesson which follows; and an orderly separation into classes will do much to preserve the spirit of worship and tranquility in the boys and girls, whereas a helter-skelter rushing to class rooms often robs the class – both teacher and pupil – of the possibility of giving and receiving the gospel truths which the lesson period might otherwise bring.


Venus in Tahiti: 28 September – 26 October 1918

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 06, 2014

(Previous installment)

Sat. Sept 28, ’18

Mended, made an embroidered ornament for my new hat & stamped some pillow slips for the native girls. Held priesthood meeting at 2: pm. Three Catholic babies have died this week. Elder Robertson’s complaint.

Sun. Sept. 29 ’18

Elder Hubbard’s anger and repentance.

Mon. Sept. 30, ’18

Held children’s class & stamped pillow slips for sewing class. Studied & sewed.


Grass in the Market Place

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 04, 2014

From the Relief Society Magazine, January 1950 –

Grass in the Market Place

By Dorothy Clapp Robinson

Stepping outside, Kent turner closed the screen door quietly behind him. He stretched luxuriously and filled his lungs with air that was sharply cool and pungent with the flavor of morning. Three hours’ sleep had eased the strain of tired muscles, but that old nagging restlessness was still with him. Would he ever learn? Abruptly he reached for his irrigating shovel and threw it over his shoulder. As he started across the yard, Thane, the collie, rubbed against his legs.

Back of Mt. Putnam, dawn was a faint blush while, below, the river bottoms stretched into a long darkness. From the saddle of the granary a robin was flinging a liquid challenge to a still sleeping world. The notes brought a bitter-sweet nostalgia. Impatiently he lengthened his stride, but stopped abruptly as the throb of a motor broke the morning stillness.


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