Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog
 


Open-Air Missionary Meeting, London, 1901

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 05, 2015

The photo was prepared for publication in a magazine by an editor drawing in lines to sharpen some indistinct figures — that accounts for the somewhat cartoonish appearance in some places.

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Lost and Found: Two Ladies and a Handbag

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 05, 2015

The Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915 was a grand world’s fair, held at San Francisco, in part to showcase the glorious rebuilding of that city after the earthquake devastation of 1906. The exhibits of science, technology, and the arts drew visitors from around the world. (Venus and Ernest Rossiter spent a few days there before sailing to Tahiti to serve as missionaries.)

Local people also went to the fair, of course. One such local visitor was Mrs. Lucy Duncan Van Bergen of 720 Capp Street, San Francisco. Lucy, 25 years old, was a native Californian; she was married to Henry William (Harry) Van Bergen, a bookkeeper. The Van Bergens had no children, either in 1915 or later – something that saddens me because I would love a descendant of theirs to find this post and learn something of their grandmother’s history that would likely be entirely new to them.

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The House on Cherry Lane Drive

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 04, 2015

From the Relief Society Magazine, March 1959 –

The House on Cherry Lane Drive

By Sarah O. Moss

Evalyn had arrived for her visit at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Maida and Charles Spence. She stood at the ironing board, pressing a scarf, while her daughter sat at the table, sipping her orange juice in the crowded little kitchen. The two small children had gone out to play.

“Sure you can manage by yourself, Mother?” asked Maida. “I could drive you around and perhaps save your strength, if you have to do too much walking.”

“Don’t worry about me, dear,” answered Evalyn hastily. “I’ll just catch a bus up here at the corner, and go right to the bank. From there – well, I have a few scattered errands about town. I shouldn’t be too long.”

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Evening Fun, 1926

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 04, 2015

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From the Children’s Friend,
February 1926

“Human Beings, Though Most Awfully Degraded”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 04, 2015

What was Brigham Young’s Indian policy? “It’s cheaper to feed them than to fight them”?

Sometimes. Mormon treatment of the Native Americans in Utah’s valleys depended very much on when you ask the question. Don’t let anyone trap you into a single position – good or bad – as being typical of Mormon behavior. Sometimes we tried to “redeem” the Indian according to Book of Mormon prophecy. Other times we tried to annihilate them as menaces who threatened the homes Mormons were trying to establish in the wilderness. Often we fed them; just as often we found feeding them to be too much of a tax, and we let them starve. We enslaved them. We freed them from slavery. We adopted them.

And do you notice how I’ve made this a “we” vs. “them” issue? Mormon policies were even more complex for the “them” that became part of the “we,” through fostering, through intermarriage, through conversion, through friendship, through employment.

This letter, written in 1850 to our non-voting representative in Congress, outlines a policy that you won’t hear discussed in any Sunday School class about Brigham Young or the settlement of Utah.

P.S.: Don’t overthink it. There is no secret meaning hidden below the surface. It’s just Brigham Young, writing to a man who knows him well.

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Smallpox (Utah History)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 03, 2015

I’m posting this old Tribune column of mine because of a recent discussion among Facebook friends.

Smallpox arrived in Utah with an emigrant company in 1856. Epidemics of that disease would strike our citizens at least six times during the 19th century, killing thousands; even with enforcement of vaccination laws, 15,000 Utahns died of smallpox between 1900 and 1925. Its deadly nature, the ease with which it spread, the unpleasantness of its symptoms and its disfiguring aftermath made smallpox the most feared disease of its day.

Yet there was little excuse for such epidemics in Utah at the end of the 19th century. The principles of inoculation and vaccination were well understood and widely practiced in Europe and much of the United States. One Salt Lake newspaper editorialized in 1882 that “Experience has long since proved the value of vaccination … Vaccination has driven smallpox from the great cities of the world, and has saved the lives of thousands … In this age of enlightenment it seems hardly worth while to argue in favor of vaccination, for all the eminent, skilled physicians of the world are its consistent and intelligent advocates.” Yet, the writer said, everyone associated daily with those who had not been properly vaccinated. Less than one year later, smallpox raged through the city.

Despite a vigorous campaign in favor of vaccination, the State Health Commissioner estimated in 1899, when the disease appeared yet again, that only 5% of Utahns had been vaccinated against this almost entirely preventable scourge.

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Knowledge

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 03, 2015

Knowledge

By Daphne Jemmett

At twenty I knew, and I knew I knew –
While at thirty, I wasn’t sure.
At forty I knew that I didn’t know
A lot I had known before.
At fifty I sigh, and wonder how
One who had known so much so young
Can know so little now.

(1945)

George Albert Smith

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 03, 2015

From the Improvement Era, 1949 —

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Jonreed Lauritzen, On His New Neighbors in Short Creek

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 03, 2015

The Grand Canyon carved by the Colorado River cuts across the northwest corner of Arizona, setting off what is commonly called the Arizona Strip, a piece of Arizona separated from the rest of the state, having more in common with Southern Utah and Southern Nevada than with Arizona. Pipe Springs National Monument is located there; so is the infamous town of Colorado City, formerly called Short Creek, longtime center of the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saint group.

Polygamous Mormons – of the mainstream variety – settled in the neighborhood of what is now Short Creek in the 1860s. When those settlers moved to Mexico to avoid prosecution, the area was generally abandoned by white settlers, except for those using Short Creek Valley as an occasional herding ground for cattle. The family of Jacob Lauritzen (LDS) moved into the area about 1911, followed by a handful of other LDS – monogamous – families.

In the 1920s, polygamy returned to Short Creek Valley, as members of the Johnson and Spencer families – followers of polygamist leader John Woolley – moved there. After 1930, the deepening Depression caused many Utahns to leave cities and return to their rural roots in order to support their families – for friends and family members of the polygamists already on the Arizona Strip, Short Creek became a destination. Settlement there increased as FLDS members were excommunicated from the LDS Church, with families moving to be nearer like-minded religionists. As polygamous families were identified in Short Creek who had not already been excommunicated, LDS leaders from Hurricane, Utah, excommunicated them. In 1944, and in 1953, federal raids on the Short Creek community sought, and obviously failed, to stamp out polygamy on the Arizona Strip.

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A Dime Is a Lot of Money

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 02, 2015

From the Relief Society Magazine, June 1939 –

A Dime Is a Lot of Money

By Eva Willes Wangsgaard

Judith stood at the crossroads. Behind her lay the long, dusty road that led to home and on over the river to the distant mining towns. To the left lay the road that led to the state highway. Straight before her were two other tines of the fork; the left tine ran on into Main Street a few blocks away; the right one ran into the lower part of town, unless you did not turn with the bend and so went on down the farm lane to the lake.

But it was not the confusion of roads that had stopped Judith. These highways she knew as well as a horse knows its way home. What held her at the corner was a serious loss. She stood looking into her purse. She fingered the coins again. She hoped it was not so, but it was; there were only one dime and a nickel in that purse, and when she had left home there had been two dimes and a nickel.

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