Southwestern States Mission: Canada

By June 24, 2012

Since the Mormon History Association is meeting in Calgary this week, I have chosen to poke around for Canadian connections to the Southwestern States Mission.

Church leaders sometimes interacted with Mission President Duffin while they were going to, residing in, or coming from Mormon settlements in Canada. [1] Southwestern States Missionaries David F Stevens and Samuel F Wilcox hailed from Raymond, Alberta. [2] Elder Wilcox worked in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, but was sent ?to East Kansas on account of the climate not agreeing very well with [him] in Louisiana.? [3]

Mission President Duffin felt similarly at odds with the weather: ?my constitution and temperament demand a cool climate.? [4] He spent about ten days in Raymond in the summer of 1905 and wrote that ?the trip to Canada has done me much good?; he considered another trip north in 1906 but decided against it. [5]

Duffin?s 1905 trip wasn?t just for health. He and Apostle John W Taylor ?arranged to take a trip to Canada during June to look over some land propositions.? [6] He mostly looked at farms, but also ?made arrangements with the manager of the Knight Sugar Co., to get a percentage on sales of land in case I should make sales for them.? [7] Later Taylor wrote, ?stating that he had completed arrangements for 200,000 acres of land in Canada and that he would like to see me, also that Bro. Burritt of Canada would come down this winter to bore for oil in Texas, at a place that I was telling Bro. Taylor gave promise of oil.? [8]

Lastly, Raymond was founded in 1901 by Jesse Knight, father of Inez Knight Allen and father-in-law of Jennie Brimhall Knight, the first two “official,” non-married sister missionaries. Amelia B Carling, the first sister missionary in the Southwestern States Mission, knew Sisters Knight and Brimhall, and Sister Knight paid a portion of Carling?s mission expenses. [9]



The ?Southwestern States Mission? series uses the diaries of six seven eight (as of 2012 Jun 17) missionaries who served in eastern Texas or, in the case of the Sister missionaries, in Kansas and Missouri, around 1900 to illustrate aspects of Mormon material culture, lived religion, and social History. The missionaries are Mission President Duffin, Elders Brooks, Clark, Folkman, Forsha, and Jones, and Sisters Carling and Cluff. The series is inspired by Ardis Parshall?s serial posting of the missionary diary of Willard Larson Jones at Keepapitchinin. Previous installment here.

[1] ?This, Wednesday, morning, Apostle John W. Taylor, came to mission headquarters, while we were holding our class. He had come down from Canada, and was led to visit us by the inspiration of the Lord.? (Duffin, 1905 Jan 11 Wed); ?Tonight Brother Taylor changed cars at Trinidad, Col., to go on to Canada and I continued on to Kansas City.?  (Duffin, 1905 May 18 Thu); ?Recd a nice, encouraging letter from Brother M. F. Cowley, who is now in Canada. He writes me that a hail storm destroyed one hundred and sixty acres of fine wheat for him at Cardston, but says he does not complain for all that he has, he has received from the Lord, and if He chooses to take it from him, he will acknowledge the hand of the Lord in it.? (Duffin, 1905 Aug 16 Wed)

[2] I have not consulted mission rosters, only the diaries, so it is quite possible that I have missed some Canadians. Raymond lies a bit south of Lethbridge or about 250 km south-south-east of Calgary. Since Raymond was founded in 1901, the Elders were born and raised elsewhere, probably Utah (according to Wikipedia?s article on Raymond). Elder Stevens worked in Louisiana and served as counselor to the conference president, superintendent of Sunday schools, and conference president. Duffin, 1903 Apr 19 Sun; 1903 Nov 1 Sun; 1904 May 11-12 Wed-Thu, 1904 Nov 11 Fri; 1905 Mar 10 Fri.

[3] The Louisiana climate doesn?t much agree with me either. Duffin, 1903 Apr 22 Wed; 1904 May 12 Thu (there are two entries for May 12 and Wilcox is in both). Wilcox was also egged in Louisiana. At the same time Wilcox was sent to Kansas, another Elder was sent to Missouri for the same reason. It was not out of the ordinary: ?Elders Hyrum G. Davis and Peter A Johnson were transferred to the East Kansas conference on account of ill health.?  (Duffin, 1903 Apr 19 Sun)

[4] Duffin, 1906 Jul 17 Tue. The originating letter is quoted more extensively below.

[5] ?To-day stopped a few hours in Salt Lake City. Had a nice talk with Prest. Smith. He desired that I should take good care of my health, and said: “If you need a change for a few weeks at any time, arrange your affairs in the mission and take it. ” I appreciated his kindly consideration. The trip to Canada has done me much good. Arrived home this evening and received a warm welcome from my wife and children.? (Duffin, 1905 Jun 19 Mon). From a letter to George Reynolds, secretary to the First Presidency: ?Kansas City, Mo. July 7, 1906. ?Replying to your inquiry concerning my health this summer, will say: I get along pretty well when we have cool days, which we are having at the present time, but as soon as the weather changes to the heat that we experience here, I “wilt” under it. It seems that the many years spent in malarial states have filled my system with malarial poisons, and the heat of summer develops that tired, languid, feeling that is the invariable result of this condition. However, with this exception and the trouble I have had in my back for the last year and a half, my health is good. I had thought I would take a month in Canada this summer, had it been agreeable with the feelings of the Presidency, but my presence is so badly needed in the mission during these months that are so trying to all of the Elders, that I feel that I must put aside that which would be for my own good, so as to be with my brethren during the time I am most needed. My constitution and temperament demand a cool climate. ?? (Duffin, 1906 Jul 17 Tue).

[6] Duffin, 1905 May 13 Sat.

[7] Duffin, 1905 May 30 Tue; Duffin, 1905 Jun 6-16; ?To-day Bro. Taylor drove us out to his farm and to Bro. John M. Cannons farm, to Mc Grath and other points of interest west of Raymond. We were gone all day. The country we have gone over to-day is a fine farming country. Wheat, oats and barley are extensively raised without irrigation.? (Duffin, 1905 Jun 9 Fri); ?To-day I had the pleasure of speaking in the Sunday school, also at the afternoon and evening meetings. Bro. Dennis Harris also spoke at the afternoon meeting and Bro. Reed at the evening meeting. Raymond has an excellent meeting and school house, and many nice, comfortable homes, with a population of about two thousand people. It also has a fine roller mill, and sugar factory, with a capacity of 125 barrels of flour daily and four hundred tons of sugar beets, respectively.?  (Duffin, 1905 Jun 11 Sun); ?During the week we have been looking over the country Bro. Wm. Knight kindly driving us in his buggy, and have been assisting Bro. Taylor, also, in digging post holes for a fence around his city lots. I made arrangements with the manager of the Knight Sugar Co., to get a percentage on sales of land in case I should make sales for them. I consider there are some of the best opportunities that I have seen for young men to make homes, in this country. Not only is the soil rich and productive, but the climate is bracing and healthful. We stayed with Bro and Sister Knight several nights and were treated very nicely by them. Thursday night we attended a reception at the home of Sister Silver.?  (Duffin, 1905 Jun 16 Fri).

[8] Duffin, 1905 Jul 31 Mon.

[9] By ?official? sister missionaries, I mean missionaries in the present-day sense of full-time, formally set-apart, non-married, proselyting missionaries. Hundreds of women had already served as missionaries, but not in a systematic, institutional capacity. See Diane L Mangum, “The First Sister Missionaries,” Ensign, July 1980. By 1905, Carling was the second wife of Duffin and Jennie Brimhall Knight was (I think) living in Raymond. ?On my way I met Sister Jennie B. Knight. She was on her way to the Temple to be administered to for her eyes. [¶] She also greeted me warmly, and wished me success on my mission. She had filled a mission and knew how to sympathyse [sic] with me, in both the joys and sorrows of missionary life. When she bade me good bye she also left a dollar in my hand.? (Carling, 1901 Jun, p 16); ?Sister Knight is one of the most noble girls I ever became acquainted with. Had it not been for her efforts and unselfishness, I should not have been able to take my mission. She offered freely to furnish me five dollars a month and she also worked with the other lady teachers of the Acadamy, to make up a purse of Sixty Dollars which was presented to me to help me on my mission. Of course I give the Lord just credit for impressing them to do this, but it also shows unselfishness in Sister Knight and Our Theology Class and the lady teachers of the B.Y.A. who were the ones who worked for that purpose. [¶] When we went up to Knight?s they were happily surprised at seeing us. Inez Put here arm around me and said ?O it seems so good to see you.? It indeed seemed good to me to be with her again.? (Carling, 1901 Jun, p 17-18).

Article filed under Miscellaneous


Comments

  1. Bonus for mention of a temple healing. Edje, can you send me the complete bibliographic citation for that?

    Comment by J. Stapley — June 24, 2012 @ 8:49 am

  2. J: Done.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — June 24, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  3. Good stuff as usual

    Comment by SC Taysom — June 24, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

  4. Awesome, Edje. I look forward to seeing you in Canada!

    Comment by Christopher — June 24, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  5. “The trip to Canada has done me much good.”

    I’ve only been to Canada a couple of times — separate camping trips to BC and Alberta, but it is a beautiful place and there was something very relaxing about being there. I do wish I could make it to the MHA conference this week, but since I can’t, I hope it’s a great time for all who can attend.

    And, back to the topic of the post: it’s wonderful that you’ve added the accounts from Sister Carling and the other sister missionaries who made it into this post. This is quite a remarkable project.

    Comment by Amy T — June 25, 2012 @ 8:27 am

  6. Thanks, Taysom, Chris, and Amy.

    Driving through Montana this morning the radio voice said something like “it’s going to be a hot one with temperatures into the 80s.” Since it got _down_ to the upper 70s in my hometown last night, I’m expecting the trip to Canada to do me some good, too. Also: I’m pretty stoked to see everyone.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — June 25, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  7. […] The ?Southwestern States Mission? series uses the diaries of six seven eight (as of 2012 Jun 17) missionaries who served in eastern Texas or, in the case of the Sister missionaries, in Kansas and Missouri, around 1900 to illustrate aspects of Mormon material culture, lived religion, and social History. The missionaries are Mission President Duffin, Elders Brooks, Clark, Folkman, Forsha, and Jones, and Sisters Carling and Cluff. The series is inspired by Ardis Parshall?s serial posting of the missionary diary of Willard Larson Jones at Keepapitchinin. Previous installment here. […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » Southwestern States Mission: Independence Day — July 1, 2012 @ 12:45 am


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