-- May 16, 1900; Wednesday
Presidents [Lorenzo] Snow [and] [George Q.] Cannon were at the office today, President [Joseph F.] Smith was in Logan [Utah] on [Brigham Young] College business.
Elder Anthon H. Lund called and had a talk this morning with Presidents Snow and Cannon in relation to the employment of Brigham H. Roberts as editor of the proposed history of the Church, Elder John Henry Smith was also present. Brother Lund reported that Elder Roberts, while drawing $1200. a year as compensation for church services, wanted another $2,500. for doing this work, making $3,700 a year. Presidents Snow and Cannon thought this was too much, especially in view of the fact that the work to be done did not require the ability of an author. The names of Elders James E. Talmage and Joseph M. Tanner were mentioned for the honor, Elder Tanner being out of employment in consequence of his having been invited to resign from the Agricultural College as an outgrowth of the [B. H.] Roberts case, President Snow felt inclined to employ him, but in consequence of a remark of one of the brethren that perhaps President Cannon might be able to do this work, at least so far as supervising it was concerned, this desire was generally expressed, President Snow joining in it, but no conclusion was arrived at in consequence of Brother Lund having suggested that Elder Francis M. Lyman, of the committee, ought to be consulted in regard to the matter, as he had talked with Elder Roberts more than any other member of the Committee, and Brother Lyman would be in town today.
In the afternoon Elder Lyman reached the city and had a conversation with President Snow at the office in regard to this
matter and President Snow informed him that during the forenoon some talk was had about having President George Q. Cannon edit the history. Brother Lyman replied that if President Cannon's health would permit of it he would feel free, personally from responsibility in the matter as he knew of no one more competent to do the work than President Cannon. President Snow then asked President Cannon if he felt that his physical condition would permit him to undertake the task. President Cannon answered that if this was the mind of President Snow and the committee, he had no other alternative than to place himself at their services, and this he did freely and willingly, promising to give the publication of the work his best attention. Elder Lyman expressed himself more than satisfied at the turn things had taken, and withdrew saying he would seek an interview with Elder B. H. Roberts at once and inform him of it. (1)
-- May 16, 1900
Presidents [Lorenzo] Snow [and] [George Q.] Cannon were at the office today, President [Joseph F.] Smith was in Logan [Utah] on [Brigham Young] College business. Elder Anthon H. Lund called and had a talk this morning with Presidents Snow and Cannon in relation to the employment of Brigham H. Roberts as editor of the proposed history of the Church, Elder John Henry Smith was also present. Brother Lund reported that Elder Roberts, while drawing $1200. a year as compensation for church services, wanted another $2,500. for doing this work, making $3,700 a year. Presidents Snow and Cannon thought this was too much, especially in view of the fact that the work to be done did not require the ability of an author. The names of Elders James E. Talmage and Joseph M. Tanner were mentioned for the honor, Elder Tanner being out of employment in consequence of his having been invited to resign from the Agricultural College as an outgrowth of the [B. H.] Roberts case, President Snow felt inclined to employ him, but in consequence of a remark of one of the brethren that perhaps President Cannon might be able to do this work, at least so far as supervising it was concerned, this desire was generally expressed, President Snow joining in it, but no conclusion was arrived at in consequence of Brother Lund having suggested that Elder Francis M. Lyman, of the committee, ought to be consulted in regard to the matter, as he had talked with Elder Roberts more than any other member of the Committee, and Brother Lyman would be in town today. In the afternoon Elder Lyman reached the city and had a conversation with President Snow at the office in regard to this matter and President Snow informed him that during the forenoon some talk was had about having President George Q. Cannon edit the history. Brother Lyman replied that if President Cannon's health would permit of it he would feel free, personally from responsibility in the matter as he knew of no one more competent to do the work than President Cannon. President Snow then asked President Cannon if he felt that his physical condition would permit him to undertake the task. President Cannon answered that if this was the mind of President Snow and the committee, he had no other alternative than to place himself at their services, and this he did freely and willingly, promising to give the publication of the work his best attention. Elder Lyman expressed himself more than satisfied at the turn things had taken, and withdrew saying he would seek an interview with Elder B. H. Roberts at once and inform him of it. Bro[ther]. Grant Geddes had a talk with President [Lorenzo Snow]. It appears that his deceased brother's wife (Margaret) who is a widow, has confessed to the a charge of adultery in the Bishop's court, and that the court had given her time to reveal the name of the man [i.e., David Eccles] in transgression with her. This she had refused to do on the grounds that he was a man of family, respected in the community, and to do so would do no good, but only bring reproach upon his family, and add to her mortificaiton. She was willing to make a public confession and ask forgiveness, and desired that she may be permitted to do this in order to retain her standing in the Church. The court held however that she must obey its requirement, and Bro[ther]. Geddes' business was to consult the Presidency in regard to the matter. [May 17, 1900; Journal History; First Presidency Office Journal; Lorenzo Snow and George Q. Cannon, Letter to George W. Bramwell; George F. Gibbs, excerpt from a statement regarding David Eccles and Margaret Cullen Geddes, ca. July 1915; George F. Gibbs, another excerpt from a statement regarding David Eccles and Margaret Cullen Geddes, ca. July 1915] The Presidency were at the office until 11 o'clock when the council meeting of the Presidency and Apostles was held in the Temple. There were present: Presidents [Lorenzo] Snow, [George Q.] Cannon and [Joseph F.] Smith of the Presidency, Elders Brigham Young [Jr.], John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, Rudger Clawson and Reed Smoot of the Apostles quorum. ... The case of a young man named Mikeljohn who had been called on a mission, but the day before leaving reported that he had been held up by two men, taking to a private house and robbed and sent away in a hack, was mentioned. The brethren did not believe the story, and Brother Grant who had his case in hand now reported that he had given instructions to Brother William C. Spence not to arrange for his missionary transportation as he did not think him worthy of going on a mission. This led to lengthy talk on the subject of interrogating our young men as to their fitness to preach the Gospel, also as to their moral status. President Smith stated that Miklejohn had already confessed to having spent a night in a brothel in this city in connection with two other young men, but claimed that they did nothing but drink beer. President Snow now brought up the subject of providing suitable quarters for the Latter-day Saints College. He said that it had been proposed to turn the Assembly hall into a college building, as before noted, which could be done at a cost of $20,000 which amount it was thought could be raised by donation; the necessary additions to be made after plans to be drawn by a competent architect who claims he can improve the look of the building by the contemplated additions. The President referred to the present quarters at the top of the Templeton building which were exceedingly unsafe, he added that he would be greatly relieved when the school term ends and the children are out from there. He further said he could not see any possible chance of obtaining college accommodations without erecting a building, and the question immediately arose then where the money was going to come from. It was understood that should the Assembly hall be turned into a college building, it could also be used for religious purposes. The subject was now before the council. Brother Lund thought the school should have a campus which the proposed building could not afford, and then he believed the beauty of the building would be marred by adding to it, also that the grounds would be marred by having the school building upon it. He favored the Church buying the old University of Utah grounds and buildings on second west, for the College. Brother Grant thought it would be a good thing to convert the Assembly hall into a college building. It would have the advantage of being centrally located, and strangers could visit and doubtless would, and thus much good could be done in that way. He believed that a good architect could add to the building without marring it in the least, and by and by it could be so added to as to accommodate the Deseret Museum, which would be a fine acquisition of the college. He said he did not want to mar the Temple block by advocating this proposition, and he conscientiously could not see that the block could be marred by it or that it would not be right; of course it was understood that the playground could not be made of it; but there was no playgrounds to the present building, nor was there in the previous ones, but he could see that the Temple grounds could furnish the students the pleasure of sitting outdoors. Referring to the present quarters, he said, that he had two daughters going to the school and there were times, when thinking of the danger and risk, he was filled with horror, and he had been actually tempted to take his children away from there. The speaker referred to the Spencer Clawson building, which could be had for $20,000, and a forgiveness of the debt of Spencer Clawson, and interest. At least when he went east to see Mr. [J. B.] Claflin, who was the largest creditor of Spencer Clawson, and tried to get the building for $10,000, and the indebtedness, that gentlemen expressed his willingness to let it go for $20,000., and supposed it could be had for that now. Elder Smoot expressed the opinion that $30,000. would not be sufficient to make such additions to the Assembly hall as would be necessary to accommodate the school and preserve the
harmony of the building. He thought too, the school should have a playground or campus and favored trying to buy the University grounds and buildings in the Sixteenth ward and favored obtaining temporary quarters in the meantime. President Snow stated that he desired the brethren to talk to the subject of the supposition that other places cannot be found, for he did not know, neither did he know anybody that did know where temporary quarters could be had, and rather than have the college continue in its present quarters he should feel in duty bound to stop it altogether. Brother John Henry Smith said he was dead against remodeling the Assembly Hall and putting the school on the Temple block as it would overturn all the propositions for which the ground was dedicated. President Snow asked the brethren who could do so to suggest what could be done with the present college, as it must be known right away so that teachers might be engaged for the coming school year. Of course all the brethren were agreed as to the situation at present being unsatisfactory. President Cannon said he did not feel to say much on the question, as he fancied President Cannon said he did not feel to say much on the question, as he fancied President Snow's mind leaned towards making a school building of the Assembly hall. In the first place, he said, the Temple block was not laid out for educational purposes, but for sacred purposes and the Assembly hall had already been dedicated for sacred purposes. He suggested that the northwest corner of the block immediately east of the Temple block would make a suitable place for the college building, and with the $30,000 to be raised he thought that part of the college building might be erected, sufficient perhaps for present needs. His objection to the Temple block, besides the one already mentioned was that the Temple block could not furnish a campus. The speaker recognized the advantage of a central location, and said he was prepared to vote for the Assembly hall now, after having expressed his objections to it, if President Snow felt led to convert that building into a college. President Snow stated that he had set no stakes in the matter. He, however, could see no serious objection to using the Assembly hall for college purposes from the standpoint of sacredness. He referred to the Nauvoo (?) Temple having been used for school purposes for boys and girls after it had been dedicated. He was inclined to accept the judgement of Professor Paul in preference to the brethren in the matter who did not know so much about the situation as he, Brother Paul did, regarding the adaptability of the Assembly hall for college purposes and if $30,000 could be raised to make additions to that building, and the design of the building could actually be improved, as it was claimed it could be, it was a proposition worthy of consideration. He did not think that the grounds would be injured at all, but of course, nothing could be done until it was known the amount of money it would take outside of Church assistance. Referring to the idea of purchasing the University grounds and buildings, that had been talked of, he did not know whether they could be purchased or not even if we had to run into debt for them. Something had to be done one w3ay or another as it was necessary to move towards the employment of teachers for the next school year. Brother Grant again referred to the Spencer Clawson building and proposition, when President Snow moved that Brother Grant try to purchase the building for $20,000 and the indebtedness to the Church of $40,000 and interest. Seconded by President Smith and carried. Brother Grant now reported on the business of the Utah Loan and Trust Co[mpany]. bank, which was in effect that if all promises were realized, and assets could be sold for what they had been estimated to be worth, another $25,000. or $30,000. would be needed to wind it up. After talking some time on the question, President Snow said that if Brothers Grant and Smoot felt like making another trial to collect what had been promised and succeeded in doing so he would undertake, as Trustee-in-Trust, to furnish $25,000. to close up the business, and promised $5,000 of this amount right away in case it should be needed to keep the bank from breaking. ... Brother Rudger Clawson said that a question had been asked him if money sent to elders in the missionary field for their support should be tithed, that Brother Ben E. Rich, president of the Southern States mission had so ruled. After some remarks on the subject John Henry Smith moved that Presidents of missions be instructed not to require missionaries to tithe the money sent to them for their support, which was seconded and carried. ... Brother John W. Taylor met the Presidency this afternoon at the office and had a short talk with them about collecting the commission allowed by the Canadian government on emigrants going into that country as bona fide settlers, he having learned that the government allowed three dollars to every male over eighteen, and two dollars for every female over eighteen, and one dollar for every child. He was authorized to make the collection, and it is understood that he will report to the Presidency. The sum of 75.00 was appropriated to help pay hall rent of the Anaconda Branch, this sum was taken out of the tithes of that branch. Bro[ther]. Grant Geddes met Pres[iden]ts. [Lorenzo] Snow and [George Q.] Cannon this morning (President [Joseph F.] Smith not having come) on the business mentioned in yesterday's journal. It was decided that no further requirement be made of Sister Margaret Geddes than a confession on her part, and a letter was written to Bishop [George W.] Bramwell to this effect. It was learned that the man did not live in Bishop Bramwell's ward. We have just had a conversation with Brother Grant Geddes, in regard to your decision in the case of Sister Margaret Geddes, and have decided that it would be right and proper in this case that you accept of her confession and forgive her transgression without any further requirement. Either the last of April or the fore part of May, 1900, David Eccles called upon me at the Mormon Church office and had a private interview with me, the purpose of which was to ascertain what, if anything, in my opinion could be done to relieve Maggie Geddes from the unpleasant position she was in. He explained it in this way: Maggie Geddes had become a mother, and the father of her child was unknown, and she was refusing to divulge his name, and for that reason she was being told that unless she could clear herself with the Church authorities she would be considered an adulterer and perhaps excommunicated. Then Mr. Eccles told me that Maggie Geddes belonged to him, and that he was the father of her child, and he was caring for them, and all he asked was that she be accorded the same treatment as other polygamists wives were being accorded, that is, let alone to bear her burden unmolested. He told me that he was very anxious to avoid trouble, and that he easiest way to accomplish this was for someone to instruct [George W.] Bramwell to let Maggie Geddes alone. What he had told me about Maggie Geddes belonging, and he being the father of her child, he said must be kept a secret, otherwise it would bring him trouble from the inside as well as the outside, as he expressed it, what he meant by the inside he said was that if his relations with Maggie Geddes were known it would be the means of causing a break in his family ties, and this he wanted to avoid. I told Mr. Eccles that President [Lorenzo] Snow was much more rigid in his policy towards polygamous marriages than President [Wilford] Woodruff had been, and I asked him if his marriage with Maggie Geddes had taken place during President Snow's administration. He told me no, and for that reason he thought he had good grounds for appealing to President Snow to be let alone. He seemed to believe that President Snow was the only person that could relieve the situation. I told him them that he himself would have to see President Snow about it, and I told him that I could arrange for a p
rivate interview. He hardly knew what was best to do, whether to see President Snow now or later, or send someone else to see him, but this was very clear in his mind, that he did not wish this known by anybody excepting President Snow, and if President Snow should be approached either by himself or someone else whom he might send, he was very desirous that President Snow keep the matter to himself. I reminded Mr. Eccles that President Snow had published a statement at the beginning of the year, announcing the fact that the Church had abandoned the practice of plural marriage, or the marrying of polygamous wives, and that he had given everybody to understand that there was no one authorized to perform a polygamous marriage either in Utah or any other State in the Union, and that anybody who should do such a thing would have to meet the consequences; and I remember telling Mr. Eccles that if he decided to see President Snow he should be prepared to tell him all about his marriage with Maggie Geddes, that is, when and where and by whom the marriage was performed. I also told him that President Snow was aware that plural marriages were performed in Mexico since President Woodruff's manifesto, but it was understood that everybody entering into such marriages were to remain in Mexico; and that it was on account of some people not abiding by these conditions by returning to Utah and elsewhere that prompted President Snow to issue the communication referred to. I told him also that inasmuch as his marriage with Maggie Geddes was entered into during the administration of President Woodruff, that President Snow would expect him to abide the conditions under which it was entered into, that is, his wife, if not he, should make her home in Mexico. He did not know which was best to do, to see President Snow himself or to get someone else to see him, and he concluded therefore to think about it. Before leaving him I had the distinct understanding with him that if he should send anybody to represent him, I was authorized by him to tell President Snow what he had told me, that is, that Maggie belonged to him, and that he was the father of her child and was caring for them, and that he hoped she could be let alone, in common with other polygamous wives, and that if I should have occasion to mention this to President Snow, I was to ask the President to regard it in the strictest privacy, for the reason already given, that is,t hat it might not become known to his family. Some days after this interview the late John Henry Smith saw President Snow, telling him that he had just learned that a Plain City girl was in trouble with her Bishop, that in fact she was in the Bishop's court charged with adultery, and that the girl had pleaded guilty to the charge and signified her willingness to make a public confession and ask forgiveness in order that she might retain her standing in the Church, but the Bishop's court had decided that she must do this and divulge the name of the father of the child as well, and had given her time to comply with the decision. John Henry Smith felt that this was too much to require of the girl. ... President Snow told John Henry Smith that he never had interfered with a Bishop in the performance of his duty, and he did not like to do a thing of that kind now. ... A few days later Grant Geddes came to the office, this was on the 16th of May, 1900, and had a personal interview with President Snow. He told him that his deceased brother's wife, Margaret Geddes, had confessed to the charge of adultery in the Bishop's Court, and that the court had given her time to divulge the name of the father of the child, or the man in transgression with her; that this she had refused to do on the grounds that he was a man of family, respected in the community, and to do so would do no good, but only bring reproach upon his family; that she was willing to make a public confession and ask forgiveness, and desired that she might be permitted to do this and retain her standing in the Church. The court held however that she must obey its requirement, and Mr. Geddes business was to consult the Presidency in regarding to this matter. As neither Pres[iden]t. [George Q.] Cannon or Pres[iden]t. [Joseph F.] Smith was in the office President Snow invited Grant Geddes to call in the morning. After Mr. Geddes left the office I told President Snow that it was clear to me now that this was the same case that John Henry Smith had spoke to him about. I told President Snow further that I knew something about it; in other words, that the father of the child had come to the office to see me and had authorized me in all good faith to make his name known, but that he would prefer not on account of his family. I told President Snow that it was really a polygamous marriage, and that the marriage had been entered into during the time of President Woodruff's administration. President Snow said he admired the grit of the girl, but he did not see how such a thing could be kept from becoming known, and he really did not want to know the name of the father of the child. Grant Geddes came to the office the next morning, and while he was waiting I explained the case to President Snow and President Cannon, President Smith not having come to the office. I told them also that I was personally acquainted with the man said to be in transgression with Maggie Geddes, and knew that he did not live in Plain City, and therefore was not under the jurisdiction of that Bishopric, and I repeated to Pres[iden]t. Cannon what I had told President Snow, that this was a polygamous marriage, that evidently the girl had plead guilty to adultery in order to shield her husband, to prevent his name being known, as the husband had told me that if it were known it would cause a break in his family ties. The result was that a letter was written to Bishop Bramwell, advising him of the interview Grant Geddes had had with the Presidency, and that they had decided that it would be right in this case for him to accept of the confession of Maggie Geddes and to forgive her transgression without any further requirement. About two weeks or so after this I met David Eccles at the corner of the Deseret National Bank. He told me he wanted to see me as he was desirous of knowing what, if anything, I had done in the interest of Maggie Geddes. I told him that I had told Pres[iden]ts. Snow and Cannon that this was really a polygamous marriage, but that the girl was shielding her husband by confessing to the charge of adultery, and that she had done this in order to shield her husband and to prevent her relations with him becoming known to his family. I told him also that I had been authorized to divulge his name in good faith, but that he would rather that this be not done. I told him also that I told them that he did not live in Plain City, and was therefore beyond the jurisdiction of its Bishopric, and on the strength of this a letter was written to Bishop Bramwell to accept of the girl's confession, and to permit her to retain her standing in the Church. ... He was ... very much relieved, and thanked me for the service I had done him. I called on Mrs. [David] Eccles at Ogden [Utah] on Sunday afternoon, October 18th, 1914, and had a long interview with her lasting nearly two hours. I commenced by telling her that I had a private communication to make to her, which concerned her, and then related the circumstances of her husband's coming to me at the Mormon Church office in behalf of Maggie Geddes. It was a very painful experience for me and for her, and she was very much shocked at what I told her, and not at all prepared to believe my story. She talked very freely, and in fact did more talking I believe that I did, nearly all of which was going to show that what I had told her could not be true. She said that David Eccles could not have been the father of Maggie Geddes' child, from his own talk with her, also from the poor circumstances that Maggie Geddes was in during his lifetime. ... she said also that she had helped Maggie Geddes many times on account of her poor circumstances, and that she asked
her husband to help her also, and that he had helped her; also that the way that her husband had talked to her about Maggie Geddes, she could not believe that he was the father of the child. She said also that since the death of her husband Maggie Geddes appeared to be better off than she was before his death. Mrs. Eccles also told me that Maggie had told her that she was bearing the burden of this affair for the sake of the family of the child's father who she said was a man well-to-do and respected. Mrs. Eccles said that she had told Maggie that unless he (the father of the child) treated her better than he was doing she ought to make his name known and make him [blank]. She said that she had heard names of several men mentioned, either of whom might have been the father of the child, among them was Grant Geddes and Bishop C[harles]. W. Nibley, and two others whom I do not know and whose names I do not remember. She said that Maggie told her she used to get help from Grant, and that he was the only one of the family kind to her, and although she (Mrs. Eccles) could not accuse him now that he is dead, she could believe that he was the father because of his interest in Maggie. She admitted however that she was now prepared to believe anything, and admitted also that she really had suspected that David was the father of the child, and had about made up her mind several times to speak to him about it, but failed to do it, for which she now felt sorry, and wished she had done it, and had it over with. In reference to the suspicion of Mrs. Eccles to Grant Geddes as being the father of the child, I explained to her that it was absolutely necessary for her husband to have someone whom he could trust to act for him as a kind of go-between between him and Maggie Geddes in order to ward off suspicion, and then related to her a circumstance which had come under my observation, namely, that a person of my acquaintance, while acting the part that Grant Geddes had acted as a go-between, so to speak, had been charged with having a plural wife, and his name had been published to that effect. When I told Mrs. Eccles that David had told me the reason why he did not like his relations with Maggie Geddes to become know was that it would cause a break in his family ties, she broke right in and in the most emphatic way said, it certainly would. ... I gave Mrs. Eccles clearly to understand that nobody on the earth knew of my coming to see her in regarding to his matter, not even the attorneys for Maggie Geddes and her little boy, and that it was purely a matter of conscience and duty that impelled me to do it, and all that I wanted was for her to do the right thing by the little boy. And on her telling me that her sons had determined to vindicate their father's name by contesting the suit I intimated to her that she herself might take the matter in hand and affect a private compromise, without her children knowing anything at all about it, leaving her sons to go ahead with the case, and that if I could be assured that she would do this I would not appear in the case; but that if not settlement should be made. I then would be compelled to go on the stand as a voluntary witness, which I sincerely hoped I would not be obliged to do. Mrs. Eccles in answer to this said that Maggie Geddes wanted a lot of money, but that if Maggie Geddes had come to her int he first place, things might have been different, but that she did not choose to do, that now it was too late. And besides, she said, if a compromise was made out of court the boy in time would claim his full share. Mrs. Eccles asked me why I did not tell her all of this before. I answered that when I learned that Maggie Geddes had instituted a lawsuit, I told Bishop Nibley that a mistake had been made, that Maggie Geddes must have been ill advised to have done such a thing, as there could be no necessity for it, and that I asked Bishop Nibley why he had not seen Mrs. Eccles about it, and that he answered saying that he had been to see her, and that others had been also, and that she would not listen or be advised. Just before leaving Mrs. Eccles I excused myself because of the fragmentary way in which I had told my story, but told her that I held myself at her command, and was perfectly willing to appear before her and her children to be catechised by them in regard to this matter. (2)
1 - First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes
2 - Journal History; First Presidency Office Journal
LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow
Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow
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