ďPatriarchal Blessing Given to Edith Dora BoyceĒ by Hyrum G. Smith, Salt Lake City on Jan. 2, 1918
A blessing given by Hyrum G. Smith, Patriarch, upon the head of Edith Dora Boyce, daughter of John Boyce and Ella Eugenia (Despain) Boyce born June 14, 1896 at Granite Salt Lake Co., Utah.
Sister Dora Boyce; according to thy desire, I place my hands upon thy head and as the spirit of the Lord shall direct me give unto thee a blessing which will be a comfort and a guide unto thee throughout this life according to thy faithfulness. Thou art of the lineage of Ephraim, numbered among the chosen daughters of Zion in these the last days. And it is thy privilege through faithfulness to live and fill the full measure of thy creation upon the earth.
An important mission has been given thee, the duties of which will be made unto thee from time to time through study and through thine experiences, and also in answer to thy prayers, through the promptings of that Still Small Voice which is the voice of thy guardian Angel, and if thou wilt follow those sweet and peaceful promptings, thou shalt avoid dangers and be not overcome by the temptations of evil, but be given strength to rise above trials, and to overcome difficulties, and to work out thy righteous desires and fulfill thy mission upon the earth in honor. It will be thy privilege also, in due time to enjoy the blessings of the House of the Lord and to be given unto a choice companion for the journey of life and be crowned with the glorious privileges of a mother in Israel. Therefore, continue to prepare thyself for the duties and obligations of that important mission which was given thee at an early period of thy life.
Be diligent in study and observe the commandments of the Lord as they have been taught thee and as they will be taught unto thee; keep thy trust in the Lord; be not discouraged when thy duties seem heavy for thee to bear, but be prayerful and observe the words of wisdom; and follow not after the follies and fashions of the world but keep thyself sweet and pure before the Lord, and thou shalt enjoy and obtain His perservering, protecting and providing care, and thy teachings both in thy home and in thy ministry wherever thy lot may be cast will bear fruits for good, and give thee much joy and satisfaction. And I say unto thee, strive at all times to let thine examples as well as thy teachings be worthy of emulation, for thou shalt be called into positions of leadership in the midst of the youth of Israel, and many will look upon you with a desire to follow thy teachings and good examples.
This blessing I seal upon thy head through faithfulness and I seal thee up against the powers of the destroyer to live and finish thy mission upon the earth and to come forth in the resurrection of the just crowned with thy blessings among the honored mothers and daughters in the House of Israel with thy kindred and loved ones, by virtue of the Holy Priesthood. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
A Patriarchal Blessing given by Patriarch James Richard Rawle upon the head of Wilford Woodruff Whitaker, born at Hatton Millard Co., Utah, on the 4th day of September, 1897, at Morgan City, UT.
Brother Wilford Woodruff Whitaker: By virtue of the Holy Priesthood invested in me and in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I place my hands upon your head and I give unto you a patriarchal blessing and declare unto you your lineage for thou art surely of the House of Israel and I say unto you dear brother, that the blessings pronounced upon the faithful ones of that lineage are yours if you will keep the commandments of God.
Thou hast been sent forth proclaiming salvation unto a world that know not God and you can testify that God has made you strong in your weakness and He has protected you in the time of trial and troubles, and I say unto you again, dear brother, that your voice shall again be raised in the cause of truth.
Many shall tremble at your sayings of those that sit in darkness. But the righteous shall rejoice and thank the Lord that they have been permitted to hear thy voice proclaiming glad tidings.
For thou shalt go forth again with great powers to assist in the building up of Godís Kingdom here upon the earth.
Keep the commandments of the Lord and thou shalt live to see many of the prophecies fulfilled. For there is a great work to be performed and the Lord has chosen you to be one of His servants.
Inasmuch as you keep His commandments He will never allow you to be overcome though trials and temptations may come in your pathway. Thou shall have strength to resist the same.
I seal thee up against the destroyer to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection with your partner in life to receive crowns, principalities and powers that await the faithful sons and daughters in Israel. Even so, Amen. (Vol. 566, pages 88-89.)
Tuttle, Marnť Whitaker. History. ďAs a Bee Gathereth HoneyĒ
One early spring day a little girl of four asked, ďMommy, how do the bees get honey?Ē When told that they gather it from flowers, she picked a bouquet of dandelions and held it in front of the hive. When no bees came out for her flowers, she found a little stick and poked it into the hole. Her sudden screams brought her startled mother to her side on the run. She scooped the bee-covered little girl into her arms, oblivious to stings on her own body, and dunked her into the watering trough. After flipping out the stingers, the concerned mother applied mud all over her face, head, legs and arms and found the dandelions still clutched tightly in her little hand. (Apparently there were no ill after-effects from this traumatic incident.)
Tuttle, Marnť Whitaker. Interview - 16 Sep 1997.
ďWe knew we werenít supposed to go to the top of the chicken coop out on its roof, but that didnít stop us. Ballard and I were tramping through the high stacked straw on the top of the roof, when we discovered a large kettle and cooper tubes and things poking out of it. I donít know if we knew it then, but we had discovered a still! On top of the chicken coop. We told Dad and he said, ďYou kids arenít supposed to be up there!Ē A little later we were poking around in the cave, just below the hill above the house and barn, when we discovered large vats filled with barley and corn, fermenting. The smell was terrible and we werenít supposed to go in there, either, so we never told Dad of this discovery. We just didnít go back.
Wilford W. Whitaker LETTERS To Dora 1916-1919
Wilford Sr. was called to go on a mission to New Zealand, and he set off in high hopes to Portland, Oregon. Upon arriving at Portland, he discovered he needed a passport and other documents to be able to go. While he was waiting, President Melvin J. Ballard [Pictured above], of the North Western States Mission, asked Wilford if he wanted to work while he was waiting, and Wilford said "Yes", so he was sent to the Idaho Conference, and then was transferred to the Montana Conference. He liked the work in Montana, and so, when asked by President Melvin J. Ballard, he said he would like to remain in the Montana Conference, where he stayed for the next two and one half years.
Wilford served in the following areas: Missoula, Butte, then back to Missoula, and then to Butte again. He was in Malta, Montana, Darlington, Idaho and then to Leslie (7 miles from Mackey), Idaho, then to Valier, Montana. He next served in Conrad, Montana, and Great Falls, then Anaconda, Drummond, Montana, Wolf Point [Fort Peck] and then finished up in Missoula again. He served a good mission and was honorably released.
Sat. Nov 25, 1916. Box 547. Missoula, Montana
I was so glad to get a letter. You ought to have seen me. The lady missionaries were with me when I received it. I guess they thought I hadnít ever received a letter before. Honestly, as soon as I got it I tore it in two right thru the center. But I was sorry when I heard that it was such a surprise, didnít I tell you I was going to write. Was you heart weak that night when you say I captured it so easily? I am sorry if it was.
Dora do you feel foolish about it really I told you to consider and now you say you were foolish. I donít understand. I thought you were sane but you try to make believe that it was me who blew you over. I am willing to turn evil to good if you feel so inclined. We are both human beings let us hope, then let us keep our human reasoning with us. You know what I have done, have given up my girl friends. Do you know what that package was. I may let you read it someday. Dora I hope you wonít blame me for it. I thought you were of your own self or I wouldnít have said what I did. I may not understand. I hope not. Your right when you say we donít know what the morrow has in store for us.
Why were the people expecting me back. I never wrote to anyone except you. I am never going to return until I have finished my work. I am so homesick now I can hardly live with myself. So donít blame me for what I say.
I sure loved your folks. They are splendid people. Why do you say I never missed you. Because and was alone. What does this mean? Really I donít get your meaning. Oh what a kid I am any way. Neither of your sisters were with me, only I danced with one of your sisters. It was the little and big one too. The short fat one. Ha Ha. When I went thru the temple I was thinking of you, wishing you were going thru with me.
You eyes arenít really blue are they a sort of a brown mixed. Nevertheless they are the same to me. Always a love blue in them. I wish you would write more. Every sentence appeals to me. I appreciate you more by being out here among strangers with different beliefs and ways. You letter was plenty formal, but this one isnít is it?
I am sure trying to enjoy my work I receive so many cold receptions that I get discouraged at times. But when I am feeling that way and it seems funny that when I go to the next house they seem to give me a little more courage. There was one Methodist lady I was talking to the other day she wound me up until I couldnít say a word only accept what she had to say. After she was done I asked if I couldnít call again she said sure. I kep notes on what she said I went home and put them before my companion he told me and gave me many things that helped me. I told the lady that faith alone without works is dead. She said no it wasnít. She said by faith all things may be accomplished. She said if we had faith we wouldnít have to work to obtain what we wanted. I found in the bible where I could corner her so I studied it and went to see her again. We got to talking on the same subject and I got riled up at what she said I started to quote these scriptures and she said show me where it says that. I showed her. Then she started firing other questions before I got thru with that one. I told her to wait and let me finish this. Well to make a long story short she acknowledged I was right and then she began throwing questions about Joseph Smith. I told her many things she hadnít heard of before about him. She was surprised . I left her a tract, sold her a Book of Mormon and was invited to stay to dinner. She is investigating now. That is my first experience like that. Will tell you some more I had next time. I will refer you to that scripture where I cornered this lady and you may if you wish to, read it in James 2nd chapter, read from the 14 vse to Chapter three. She took her scripture from Mathew 17 chapt and 20 vse. Also from Eph. 6 cahp. 16 vse. And John 5 chapt, 4 and 5 vse.
Ah I tell you we have the only true gospel. As I told one the other day she said I know what the Mormons are and donít care to hear any from you. I talked a little to her and I finally wound up by saying. I said now lady when we both go before our maker to be judged, and I am there as a witness against you, when the Lord asks of you, Sister do you remember the time when my Elder came to your door to deliver a message and you turned from him and sneered at him, what will you say. I said then the Lord will turn to me and ask, Elder did you not visit this lady and she rebuked you. She began to think. Well she said I may see where I am wrong some day but my church is good enough for me. I also told her that she would be a Mormon someday. She only laughed. I left her a tract. I feel sometimes like I am doing good then again I am discouraged.
So if you will only write I know I shall enjoy it. You will be tired of reading such junk, but it isnít junk. Donít be angry with me for what I have said because I may not understand what you are trying to say. Write me a long loving letter. The longer the better. I never forget. Ans. soon. Lots of love and a hearty Thanksgiving I remain your true-----Wilford.
Jan. 11, 1917, Missoula, Montana
Just half past nine, so I must hurry if I get this note written by ten, as this is our rule for retiring. That is, I meant our mission rule. If you were here I might break over the rule considerable, but nothing here for me to do but study and think, only when I take a few moments now and again to think of my love one.
I love the spirit you manifest in your loving letters it seems just like ďDear old Dode.Ē Ha--How are the Kanabers treating you anyway. You seem to be enjoying yourself as usual I am very glad to say. That is the way to keep young, pure, clean enjoyment but kisses contain microbes. Ha Ha. Me for the microbes--aint I awful?
What is life anyway. I suppose it is just one thing after another but love is two damn things after each other. Never the less I am prove to believe somewhat in the Law of Moses. That is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. If they kiss you kiss em back. Ha. How do you feel in that regard. Kissing suffers long and is kind. You like nonsense sometimes do you not? I believe you are lonesome tonight, I feel you are anyway. Cheer up and get that frown off your face. Wipe that homemade Christmas tear from your nose and face the world like a man.
What excitements are going on down there? Have they ceased having their parties. You mentioned going to meeting with Preal, and that was all the exciting news existing in your letter. But as I said before Love is exciting in itself isnít it?
Pshaw no, Dora I donít mind if you go with Preal. He is the best boy in Kanosh, and I believe you would have to hunt a good long while before you could get better anywhere. Impossible. Preal and I have sure been very intimate pals. Donít feel that what we have said, that has to last forever, because we both have our free agencies when it comes to choosing. If you like someone better than someone else choose the better part. I wouldnít tie a string to anyone.
Shall I tell you why I went with you at first. This is why. There was a certain fellow who tried to beat my time that is take a girl whom I had been writing to for two years. I could see it so I gave her the chance, not the chance necessarily but her own free choice. I finally dropped her entirely. Now this same fellow, when he saw you became very excited, now I thought old boy I am going to try and get ahead this time and try you for good this time. So I went with you. Now I never expected that we would turn out the way we did. But Dora I just had to give in. I liked your actions when I saw you but I loved them when we became acquainted.
I havenít forgotten the past. The song, Just a Wearin for you, often flashes over my mind and I can see your face, as I try to sing it. Donít judge me too harshly for my talk now. Passions often rise. I hope Dora you donít let your sweet hearts read my sayings. I would never think it of you, but if you happen to fall just burn these. It seems when I get to writing I get too serious, I feel that is the way you take it but its my nature. I canít go around the bush. You made me laugh when you ask of me to give you some advice, and whether you should go with any or no. I am glad I can get so near to your nature. That was Dode over and over and over. My best advice would be not to take things too serious. Ha--
What do you suppose I received from a friend. I will reveal this to you as you seem to be my secret friend. I received a long loving letter from the girl in Brigham. Things there are lifelike all manifesting school spirit. I would like to take you to Brigham and get acquainted with the boys and girls. They are dear to me. I received many Christmas cards and different small articles from some.
Well, dear old sweetheart~~~Write me a loving letter, newsy and love. Nonsense and revulsion if you think and find that way to me. Give my regards to the crowd. You have my everlasting love and bushels of it. Elder Wilford~~Missoula, Montana
May 4, 1917. Butte, Mont. Box 658.
I thot as we had a type writer I would write you a letter that you could read. I am going to learn the type any way so thot this would be good practice, especially do I think so when I write to my bestest sweet-heart.
Was it me that made the mistake when I wrote that letter to Salt Lake? I understood you to say in the last letter I received from you for me to send it to Roosevelt Ave. That was why you never received it sooner. I was almost disheartened, I thot you had forgotten to write.
How do you like your new home by now? I wish I could come out and give you a visit. Do you ever get lonesome I sure do at times. I get so miserable I hardly know what to do with myself. I suppose you know that by the (sic, way ) I write sometimes.
What are you going to do this summer? My it would be nice if tou (sic) could go on a mission. I wish you would you could have the nicest time.
I was looking through my valise and what did I see but that keep sake of yours. I couldnít (sic) help thinking of our little doings while at home. I wish I could live them all over again.
I was transferred from the Idaho conference to the Mont. It was quite a change but I like it just as well here. Butte is sure a tough place. While I was tracting the other day I ran across A mob of the dirty stinkers. I hadnít ought to be saying such things. Its to bad darn it any way, I talked with one she told why she was doing, and the cause she had for doing the way she was.
I explained to her the penalty attached to such work, and she felt like she had gone too far, and there would be no forgiveness for her. But I read (to) her How she could be forgiven if she would sincerely repent. There are no doubt girls at home just as bad but I am proud to say the majority of them are non-Mormons. It sure makes me proud of our girls at home when I look at the difference between our girls and most of the girls of the world.
I would love to have you come and visit with me for awhile. I have a trade first for you, I have had a number of comps on the picture you gave to me. I revere it very much.*
I often think of the song you sang before I left home, do you remember what it was? Just a Wearing (Wearying) For You, it is true I often weary for you. The song Grace and I sang often comes to me. O, That WE two were Maying. I wish we were, how nice it would seem. a century. I love the Letters you write to me I read them half a dozen times a day each loving word brings new device to me I love each and every word you say. My if I had wings to fly, donít make me mad and ask me why. Did you ever hear that song? Get it the title is There A garden in Old Italy.
Be good and write often with lots of love and kisses. As ever your true boy. Wilford --- XO ----
May 28, 1917, Butte, Montana
We elders have just come home from meeting. We had a nice meeting, the principal speakers were Elders Bell and Whitaker. Shall I tell you our subjects? Elder Bell spoke on the organization of the church. I tried to speak on general salvation and individual salvation.
There was quite an excitement uptown today. The street care switch happened to be closed, the street car hit the frog and the way it went down the street, it went from one side to the other then it finally stopped against a house. It has been raining here the last week. They tell me that it rains 30 days in the month of June.
Did I tell you of my inauguration into the Sunday School here as Theological teacher and chorister? I donít know what they are trying to do, but is all for the best. We have a nice Branch here. There are about 400 members but so many of them are slack in their duties, religious duties.
Do you think you would like to go on a mission? You would make a lovely little missionary. You are naturally humble and a well informed lassie, it would do me good to hear you talk. The N.W. States Mission is the best of all missions. I didnít think that I would like it here but I am getting quite attached to Butte, I donít know why, there is nothing here to see in the line of vegetation. The grass is even yellow in some of the yards.
We had a big day here Saturday. It was called tag day. They had all of the prettiest girls in Butte out with tags selling them, the proceeds were to go to the Patriotic Womanís Club, or for the Red Cross fund. I bought a tag and we were supposed to wear them but I hid mine. I had a number after me trying to sell me one. I did this for a purpose. I went home loaded my pockets with tracts and was ready for all of them. Sure enough I had some fun. The pamphlets were called The Plan of Salvation. Every one I met took one. I hope they read them. Its good to be mean once in a while isnít it? I am getting meaner every day. Just yesterday I was trying to beat a newsboy out of a paper.
May 28 (same letter)
Today is Monday, and I havenít gotten my work done, my cleaning and pressing for last week. It is quite a change.
I cooked a dinner for the saints here Saturday Bro. Stephens and his wife had gone to Anaconda they left their children and they told us they would be back about 6 oíclock. So Elder Bill and I pitched in to get supper ready the time they returned. We bought a nice beef roast, some strawberries and cabbage some lettuce and onions and radishes. We had one of the best suppers when they came in. Everything was on the table when they came in. They wondered if some dwarfs had been in. They found out otherwise when they found a bill of $1.40.
The people treat us fine here. Each of the elders carry a skeleton key when we go to the homes of the LD Saints and they are not home. We just make ourselves at home and help ourselves to anything as these were the orders they left us.
I hope you will enjoy this epistle as its so short. Dora I would be glad to hear from you. It seems a month since I last heard from you. Perhaps you are too busy. I know I am awful busy but never too busy to write to you. I bring my writing in as a duty along with my other work and donít you know it is all a pleasure to write to one you know, I feel that way anyway--
Be good sweetheart~~Your bestest boy, Wilford PS Write quick.
June 27, 1917, 11:05 PM Butte, Montana 632 So. Dakota St.
We have all been out for a big feed over at Bro. And Sister Jennings. After sup we played Flinch. Had a good time. The cool zephyrs are blowing thru our south window. There is a bunch of climbing vine growing right over the window. Our land lady has them tied back so the sunshine can get in. The moon is shining bright through the window.
I can look all over the large mining districts, as they are all lighted up. They have the bright flash lights working all over the hill and city. You havenít heard of the awful strike yet I suppose. They have to keep the flash lights going as the men who do go to work wonít be slaughtered on their way to work. Scabs I should have said. The miners here donít know what to do now they have struck.
I enjoyed the few moments with you when I read your nice letter dear dear letter. I could tell you could feel what you were saying when I read it. Letters are so cold, as you say. Why should we be deprived of seeing each other being so close? It would only take me until tomorrow night to be with you.
I bet the weather is terribly warm home now. The days here are pretty warm, but the evenings pleasant. We wouldnít bother at all about the weather if we were together would we. Talk about the dust filling your eyes, we sure got it bad today.
The soldiers are situated up on a hill just west of here, we can see them out on duty every morning. They practice every morning from 7 until 10. There was another regiment just arrived here last night. They must be preparing for trouble. Say I am glad I am not a man yet 21 yrs. I have quite awhile yet and besides, they canít take ministers or wonít rather.
Do you really think you and I will live to see the day when seven women will hang to one manís coat? Imagine! Would the men have a job? What if all the men were on one island and the women on the other. Wouldnít there be an awful scrambling among the women? I believe we will live to see it yet. We should worry.
Say I have an idea: you were saying something about vacation--out on a farm--Why not vacate up this way? There is lots more fun up here. I can get you a job as a barber or even run the street cars if you wish. 11:30 just now struck. All this in twenty-five minutes.
Elder Bell and I may go to Drummond for the 4th donít know yet tho. Butte will be dry on the 4th. No money in circulation--tight wads.
I hope you received the photo. I thot perhaps it would break as it was so large and clumsy. Its too natural of me, flatter. Say can you count the loves in tennis yet? Would like to play you a game. Will play you a game some day--when I get home of course. I wish I were as popular as you and have a few dates, I am afraid if I had a date with you out here I would chance breaking the mission rules. But Pres. Ballard said it wouldnít be breaking the mission rules if your sweetheart came. He said it would be alright.
I wish everyone thot of me as much as the folks at home thot of you. When I say folk I mean everyone. All I heard was praise and they couldnít say otherwise without telling a squib. Do you know what an old man said to me when he saw we two together. He was telling me this a day or two later. He said you are a nice little couple and you want to stay with that little girl for she is worth anyones wooing. I havenít told you at all what they have said to me at home for fear you might get too high strung. Ha..
Well dear write me another letter on the same plan as your last. I adore them, you more though. Believe me, wontí you. I am not saying with ink that I wouldnít if I were there. May God bless your precious soul. The old saying--Demn wo ever schaty ish, da ist auch ever Herz. St. Matt. 6-2. Write often. With love, Wilford
Sept. 12, 1917
Miss Dora Boyce.
My dear little school teacher. In receipt of your darling epistle, I m going to answer it tonight. Yes I am out of the Horse pital and am laughing and joking as you say. Iíve been in a funny mood so you wonít mind what I say, will you? I know you wonít. I ought to know you by now, but you appear to want to become more acquainted with me. Why my darling girl, why _______there be a more friendlier intimacy between you and I. I thot I knew you I confided in you my whole heart and soul were interested in no one but you. But why? It needs be, as you make the list you want to become better acquainted, or in other words to confide a little which I think is only right and just. You said you love me. I said the same of you. I always did put my confidence in you and Dora dear I believe I know you. Perhaps not. I wonder if I donít? Does love ever deceive? Does true love ever become corrupted? Yes Sometimes.
Do you know of the Hawaiians love? It never dies out. Now I feel that way towards you. I was just reading your back letters and, I get some new ideas and thots, but I cannot express them on paper.
I have all you letters and really your the cleverest little daisity I know of yet. Indeed you love your schooling. Donít tell me your not talented any more. Your a wonder, and could accomplish everything you under take. And the way to over take success is to undertake it. I have wished a good many times that I were talented as you are.
Dora donít you like Millard Co? I donít believe you do. I am glad you accepted the position for unknown reasons. I am not stuck on any place unless I am happy where ere it is. Say What was that little prose verse you were telling me of a while back. Say it was clever. I had to read it to my companion. It was loves counterpart in life. The abyss to which it some time clings. It was brought in so clever. I love your little thots and action words. They seem to have a part in your makeup. I must not dwell too much on ones virtues, you may become vain. Oh no; I know you wouldnít. Remember what I said in the beginning.
I must tell you some few very new news. Elder Robins my companion wants to swell upon your goodness. He is somewhat zealous over your picture. He said to tell you that he never read a nicer letter from a girl in his life. Donít think that I make it a habit of letting people even dear friends read you mail. But I think I would be doing you an injustice if I never let you know every step I do in regards to our affairs. But I did, let him read one of your inspiring letters. He said to tell you (of course I will) that he might make his first tracks to your home. I told him he may get a warm reception (thats your nature isnít it?)
I really love your letters and you? And if I thot I could hear from you oftener in any way Iíd find out the way. Really it seems a long time. Have I told you any news? The soldiers are playing havoc here, they leave on the 29, a big reception going to be given in their behalf. 26 appeared before the doctor the next morning after they were given a party in the Methodist church who had fallen that night in Helena. A commander in Chief told Elder Crane and I with his own lips. What of the moral conditions existing in the world. The Methodists are war against dancing--but look the same results in a church social. Excuse me. I must close before I read you to death.
I am feeling fine now but awful weak still. I have to be careful. I went to my doctor today, Dr. South____ and told him I never came to pay him but to find what I was owing him. He said, well all the missionaries I have ever seen as yet none of them ever had any money and if they did they came by it dishonestly. And it wonít cost you anything. He was very attentive while I was sick. I think it was very kind of him donít you?
Well write soon dear sweet love. Your loving missionary friend, Wilford
Itís been so long since youíve given me a lesson that I just want to know what my reading will be fore tomorrow. ďOhĒ Teacher, Teacher. Is this all you hear now? I imagine that it would get tedious, to have them always at your. Do you ever scold? No, of course not.
Well your welcome letter came after so long a time of anxious waiting.
I do hope youíve gotten over your dizziness. I sympathize with you. Dora you know I wasnít ever angry, donít you? Did you ever see me when I got angry? No, I donít believe you ever did.
We just came from a show and oh my what a nice one--In The double Devil--have you ever seen it? You said to write you one of those L~~~~~~ kind, well I canít hardly read that, but I am a pretty good guesser at some of the things you donít say. I would like to be able to write on this what I should love to say with you. Never the less I do mean on paper what it says.
Perhaps I am not as careful as I should be at times of what I say. I feel that way about one of my other letters I wrote you. You never said anything about receiving it in the letter you wrote before the last, so I took it that you never liked those kind. Dora no one shall ever read our letters. You canít hardly blame me for feeling the way I did, after you telling me what you thot about it. It would have been perfectly alright if I hadnít told you about it, yes and pulled the wool over your eyes. Perhaps you think I am so inclined, but as long as I have my confidence in you, there shall never be things pass between me and others in regards to you, that you shall not hear about. Can you believe me. As long as I am in the world and you the same, I shall never turn from thee--Shakespeare
Elder Everett Robins, Scipio, Utah
Elder Robins told me today that he wrote you. Why donít you answer it. I am sure he would enjoy reading your letters even if I never---as you stated. Donít think I am jealous I never get that bad. Itís all in fun anyway. I donít like my own letters so itís no wonder you hate them so. I love yours--so do be prompt. Write one of those kind~~~~~~~Love, Wilford
11/20/17 The Olive Hotel, Malta, Montana
My only Sweetheart:
How is that? It jibes with me real nice. Just one year ago today, since I landed in the mission field, and Dora its the best place in the world. I little dreamed of being in Montana though. I expected to be far far away from home. I just feel awful tonight. As the soul feeleth, the heart speaketh, or is it the other way about? I mustnít give way to my feeling, or I may say something that I might be sorry for. But I donít think I would.
Doesnít the time go tho? It sure seems short to look back, but quite awhile before another year elapses. Our moon has cheated this year hasnít it? Well you donít care much anyway do you? Dora I have read and read and read your letter before this one, and wondering how I shall ever repay you. It was so nice. Shall I make a copy and send it back with my signature? Oh no. I have as much for you. You never gave me time to consider it all yet C? I am English and sometimes it hard to see all at once.
We are kept busy now as we have about 300 miles of territory to cover. Holding meetings and tracting etc. We hardly have time (page missing?)
Went with you because I only wanted to show you a good time? I am sure if I hadnít of gotten in when I did some one else would. I get jealous sometimes. I knew a good many who would like to have gotten with you while I was home. But I wanted you all myself. Isnít this an unmercifully long letter. Gosh dern it any way. Why couldnít I send it thru the phone and it wouldnít be so long.
Surely I would enjoy one of those musical instructors or instructions rather. I could drink the lovely little song of yours tonight. Just awear____ for you. I can imagine you singing it now. Well Dora I was so glad to hear from you. I wish you would always be so kind to me, and not wait a year before you write, as you almost have been doing until recently. You couldnít forget your friend could you. Do you still think of him just a wee bit? Because I want you too, you know I am a wee bit concerned. Have a good time its all we get out of life any way. I havenít forgotten our little trip yet. You had nearly forgotten about it tho when I first wrote.
XXXOOOBaskets of love, From me, WWW
12/29/17 Mackay, Idaho
I have decided that you have forgotten my name, so I guess Iíll have to tell you. Ha. I landed in Mackay Wednesday, and have been patiently waiting to hear from you. I hope you arenít angry but you never get angry do you? Perhaps you havenít received my letter, so Iíll withhold my verdict. I also wrote you a couple of cards one from Glasgow, and one from Butte. Expected to stay in Butte for Christmas but, after landing there I got word that Elder Howard who was laboring with my new companion, had gone home, so I had to go right on.
Elder Gerald Christiansen, Blackfoot, Idaho
I hope you have spent a happy Christmas. I canít say that I did. I havenít heard from home yet. When I landed in Blackfoot I had a notion to come on home. I wonder if Dora would have been glad? I bet she would. I would love to see you and tell you all about it. I tried to find something nice to send you, but I couldnít find what I wanted in this one horse town. A poor excuse, but really in these little towns you canít get anything nice. Mackay is a town, a little bit smaller than Kanosh, so you can imagine what kind of a time I am having. I guess it doesnít make so much difference where we work, as long as we find something to do.
Elder Marvin ____ [Vanoy?], Juniper, Idaho
Elder Vanoy and I are out in a little string town named Leslie about 7 miles from Mackay. We walk all the way, and the weather is so nice, just like spring. The grass has started to turn green.
Say it sure seemed good to get back to Butte, to get a look at your picture even if I couldnít see you. About another year now and I will be receiving my walking stick. The time flies on wings. My I donít hardly have time to turn around until another day has fled. Mabey you think I am a piker but really I wrote you about three weeks ago, and if you never received my letter it has gone wrong because I havenít received it, and I had my return on too. I will try and write more often when I get settled, so if you donít receive one youíll get the other.
Write me soon wonít you? And tell me all your troubles. I hope your not sick, be careful as this is bad weather for sickness. Most everyone around here are complaining. Who was your partner for the Christmas dance? I imagined I could see you having such a good time dancing and having such a nice time with a handsome young man. I am glad you have a good time. You want to have a good time and get some one to care for you. It isnít unusual tho is it? When your feelin blue and your friends seem few just think of me, I will be with you and write just a big letter to your best missionary. With love, Wilford XO
Elder C. E. Riddle, Escalante, Utah
1/8/18 Darlington, Idaho
Dear Dora, Morgan Utah
I received your ever welcome letter, also the nice candy you sent me. It layed laid over in Butte until last week. I am ashamed of myself for not finding something nice here. But never mind I'll get even with you someday when I am not so dependent.
I certainly hope you had a better Xmas than I did. I left Butte into a strange country, and among strangers. I sure enjoyed your dear letter. I suppose you've received my other letter by now.
I am enjoying the work here very much. Most of the people here are 1/10th Mormons, so you see the work we have to do in bring the lost sheep back. The people are getting enthusiastic now. Elder Vannoy and myself are helping build the church. I am learning how to be a carpenter. The little town of Leslie will be building soon too. Also Mackay. Its surprising how the people drift, as soon as the shepherd leaves them.
I believe the caution Jesus made to Peter refers to us very strongly. After Peter had betrayed the lord, and after wards Jesus coming to him and said: Peter lovest thou me? Peter said: Yea lord thou knowest I love the. The words that must of sunk deep into Peters memory when Christ said: feed my sheep. Again the lord ask Peter the same question and again received the same admonition. Pres. Ballard said it is just as important and more so to bring those back, who had received the light and then, become way ward.
Dora dear it sure is a Wonderful Work. I wish you could experience the same. I was going to write you last evening but we had a house full of company, and we got to discussing, so that I couldn't. I should have answered sooner anyway, but down here away from any kind of Civilization, it seems as tho I couldn't get settled to it, and I have procrastinated ever since.
You I suppose have gone thru a few experiences since I heard directly from you, some of which have been decidedly trying and unpleasant and others that I am sure have given you a great amount of joy and satisfaction. I can say this for myself anyway. It is very nice to know we can have friends and someone who is interested in our welfare whether any riches or high position attaches to it or not. For my part I know of no one I would rather be with, both in constant association and enterprise than my own true friend and my brothers and sisters. I realize now how to appreciate kind friends and my brothers and sisters more than I ever did before.
We as a body of people ostrasize ourselves from each other while we are all well and pursuing each his own individual little sphere, & only ocassionally do we get together even for a short time, we learn very little about each others real self and aspirations. I believe that missionaries learn more about each others real self and become much more real bosom companions in one weeks time than Brothers or sisters do living for years in the same family together. I believe if more of our boys and girls could come on missions, that they would find more real things in life than they would otherwise.
One year has elapsed now, and I feel thoroughly imbued with my work. and I believe that the second year of experience will bring real joy and satisfaction to me and it will if I aim to finish successfully. Excuse this dry serman. I'll write you one when I feel in the humor.
Your letter made me feel so good and to think of you sending me so much for one Xmas almost made me weep. I don't believe that a $10 bill ever did as much for me as the one you sent.
I landed in Mackay with $.75 - I was looking for money from home as I sent for same. But unfortunately, it hasn't come yet, so you see what a perdicament I would have been in. I am just beginning to have my Xmas. I receive a box of nice Hdkfs. today. My brother sent me $20 yesterday and today again I received $10 from the Relief Society. I received a nice book called Old Mortality. Did you ever read it? Very good. This was from my S. school teacher. All kinds of candy now. Come up and help me read it.
1918 - Can you imagine and in Nov / 0 we were in Kanosh together. Did I say that you get Jealous? I thot I said it was me. You know when I told you that I was afraid someone would beat my time - well that wasn't Fred Bird. I hope you keep your promise and [flovd? Hood?] as much as you will. I'll try and answer every one of them. Do you really ever dream of me? I hope they aren't bad dreams. One of the saints here dreamed of me the other night. She said she saw me shooting some window panes out of Joyces store.
I am glad you liked my last letter send it back and I'll write a better one (but in person.) Write soon Dear one. Love Wilford.
Mar 8, - 18 - Darlington, Idaho
How are you after such a long time. Say - you - I've been trying to find out heads or tails to your last letter but I have utterly failed. I am going to save it, tho, and have you interpet it for me. You will won't you? Maby -
I am getting in with the aristocratic people of Mackay. What do you think? Prof. Rice and I have had quite a time together the last few weeks. Singing and oh - so many things. We had a lovely program here today. I was in it that's why. I sang "Mother Dear" one of Bro's compositions also sang "So Long Mother". You have heard it, haven't you. I enjoy singing don't you.
Oh say We've had the time of our lives. Pres. Ballard was here and we held meetings, he is a wonderful speaker, I enjoyed it so but I never used to, did I?
What are you going to do to night? Say ship over and we'll take in the dance and show. Soo so I whit pretty strong in my last letter didn't I? Well, I'll be careful. It was just the way I felt tho. Don't blame me, blame the pen. Say I was introduced to another school teacher today, But so long litty - I like your old fashioned ways better. Thats why -
What do you think is going to happen, all of the missionaries that are in the 1st selective draft will have to go home maby - guess work but there is considerable talk about it but I am free. Ha Ha I will be glad tho to go and get a drive at the Germans. Its too bad we can't die more than once for a cuase like this. But why should we fry and fret at this time of the fight. It won't be long until we will have war right here in our own land, neighbor against neighbor, and you and I will live to see it.
We leave here for Butte for conference about the first of may, I have a premunition that I am going to come back here in this district to labor. Pres. Ballard said he was going to send about four or six more Elders in this country. Say Girlie then we'll have a good time Conference will then be held here in this part of the country.
We are going to Chilly in about a week but will be back soon. We are invited out to the Relief Societys annivarsary - Not much news this time so be good my little dear. Write soon. Wilford.
Mar 15, - 18 Mackay, Idaho
I am alone tonight with my thots, the big 30 day clock slowly strikng of the seconds and hours. I have nothing to do but to answer your dear letter which came to-day. I am over my dizzy spell now - so beware, I am going to answer every one of your questions and I want my Dear little girl to know just how I feel.
It looks serious doesn't it? - well Dear don't take it so serious that you forget to smile - Really I've had people here tell me that I look just like some of the ministers, because i don't always laugh perhaps when they do. I have to hold a long face two or three days before we hold a meeting or the kids here won't believe what I am saying - I had quite a time here, the other night, Just before meeting commenced I was talking and joking to a young bunch of people, and when I was called up to speak, I couldn't speak for thinking about those foolish kids. So I have decided there is a place for everything. We are treated fine here - every one treats us with honor and respect.
Dora I don't know of anything I would like better than to have you come and give me a visit. I might feel awful lonesome after you left - but I just long to see you. It won't be out of place at all if you come. I'll try and find you a happy home as long as you stay. We will be leaving for Conference about the latter part of April or 1st of May. I have a good idea that I will be sent back in this part of the country so I sure want you to make me a visit, won't you?
No Dear I haven't been sick at all the reason I never wrote sooner I haven't a plausible excuse either. Oh yes I have too - Elder Vannoy said for me to wait and write when he wrote to his wife and see who got an answer first. I am thankful you wrote first because we put up and wagered that we both would receive one first. you were the winner - always -
You never said a thing in your last letter to offend me - why my little doll, you know that you couldn't.
Shall I talk about the weather for awhile or don't you care if I freeze? The nights here are nippy but we have lots of sun and mud in the daytimes. The mud here goes up higher than it did on you. If you hit a hole hard enough you go in clear up to your ____ hips. But you, me I mean never get stuck like you did -
Say Dora did you ask me some questions in your last letter? I'll swan I never found any - You had me going around and round - I read the same lines over and over as I went on the trip, believe me it's complicated, did you ever try it --? Say I was talking about the weather wasn't I? Well, never mind it will be nice by the time you get here. I would love to have you come - OH DO
There is a big show starting here pretty soon, a brand new one. Just about finished, picture show. I don't know about dancing but we would dance alone wouldn't we?
Dear Dora I most gratefully accept the gift of your love. I sincerely hope that I may ever be found worthy of a good girl as I have found you to be thus far, I enjoy your loving friendship and I trust you feel the same to me. You must know that I cannot see you or think of you without entire indifference; and yet it may be that you are mistaken in regard to what my feelings toward you are. If I knew that you were not, I should not trouble you with this letter. Perhaps any other man would know enough without further information, but I consider it my right to plead ignorance and your sole duty to allow the plea. I want in all cases to do right; and most particularly with with you I want at this time more than more than anything else to do right with you and if I knew it would be be doing right - as i rather suspect it would, to let you alone, I would do it. Now to make it as plain as possible I now say you can drop, the subject and dismiss your thots - if you ever had any - from me forever, and leave this unanswered without calling forth one accusing murmur from me. And I will even go farther and say, that if it will add anything to your comfort and peace of mind to do so, it is my sincere wish that you should. Do not under stand by this that I wish to cut your acquaintance. I mean no such thing. What I do wish is that our further acquaintence should depend upon yourself. If such further acquaintance would contribute nothing to your happiness, I am sure that it would not to mine. If you feel yourself in any degree bound to me, I am now willing to release you, provided you wish it. While, on the other hand, I am willing and even anxious to bind you faster if I can be convinced that it will in any degree add to your happiness.
This is just the way I feel tonight. Poor old Lincoln. He's alright. I dearly love you. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel toward you. I will sure look for you now. You won't fool me will you?
Dora do you want to go to France? I won't tell you what I would that you should do. I would love to have you go or even take you but I wouldn't stand in the way in the least, if you have a longing to go you do what you think best. It is an honorable cause, and I would never stay any one if they wished to go. Don't think by this that I would urge in any way. I would prefer having you with me always. I hope the day comes that will find us going somewhere on a journey, perhaps to France.
Say Sweetheart you are sure a Preachers daughter - You are the preachinest girl I ever met. Heres something that strikes me funny. Perhaps you have heard it - have you Har Nousiana? There was a minister here in the Methodist Church at the opening of the meeting he wished to introduce some new Hymn books, directed the clerk to give out a notice in church in regard to them immediately after the sermon. The clerk however, had a notice of his own to give with reference to the baptism of infants. At the close of the sermon he announced: "All those who have children they wish baptized please send in their names at once" The glergyman, who was deaf, supposing that the clerk was giving out the hymn book notice, immediately arose and said "And I want to say for the benefit of those who haven't any that they may be obtained from me any day between three and four o clock. The ordinary little ones at fifteen cents, and special ones with red backs at twenty five cents each. Har. This is as good as I ever heard.
You asked me in regards to my Brother in Provo. Well he isn't the one that composed the songs. He is teaching German latin and French at the B. Y. U. It was O. A. Whitaker in Brigham City that composed the songs. He is supertendent of the music in the Box Elder schools. All of our family belong to the church. I am the fifth one that has been on a mission - I have the dearest mother in the world - don't you think she is like yours. She is the mother of sixteen children. Her name was Hickerson before she was married - She was born in some town near Salt Lake. Yes I have two uncles in Salt Lake that I know, Uncle Charlie Symons and Charles Whitaker. I have an uncle down home by the name of George but not in S.L. mae and Earl are my cousins, first cousins. Charlie Whitaker is the only brother father has living in Salt Lake. I am curious, why do you ask? I enjoy telling you tho. I have a sister living in Salt Lake at No. 54 So. 6 East. I wish you would call on her - I love to answer questions ask me some more - write soon. I Shall always love you - your own sweetheart Wilford XO XO
Apr. 9 - 18 - Mackay, Idaho,Dear Dora
I received your card today - I was glad you wrote, as I thot you would perhaps stay in Salt Lake for sometime. I am glad you enjoyed the Conference - only sorry I couldn't come, and join you - they have such good times along with the conference service, do they not? I wrote to you to Morgan suppose you received both of my letters. I was going to write to Ogden, as you suggested but, I thot that perhaps you wouldn't receive it there so sent it to Morgan.
Did you meet Pres. Ballard? I am glad if you did. I don't know of any one in the church, who had such a wonderful personality in my estimation as Pres. Ballard. He has such an influence over the missionaries, he can read a persons countenance it seems. You can just see the spirit of love beaming in his countenance and the Gospel lights beaming in his eyes. The work we are engaged in seems to work right into ones life until he can't help but show forth the beauties in example as well as by precept. It is easy to understand why it is that missionaries are able to live better and to do better - One reason I think is, because where ones time and thots are nearly always running along one line of thot it naturally and gradually becomes part of the man. Again when a person only goes to church once a week, and the remainder of the time is laboring, possibly among classes of disreputable characters or where things go wrong, so as to aggitate and draw the mind from his real self, it will grow and make part of the mans makeup and if always in the class mentioned will finally grow into his life - What do you think about it - Perhaps you've never experienced both sides but you no doubt have tell me anyway.
I never told you I was out on the Liberty Loan campaign, did I? We have a nice quartett here, I believe it is the best one I was ever in for harmony. Prof. Rice of high school is at the head, I also sing a solo each night - Perhaps you've heard the song, entitled Stand By Our Country Men - If you haven't it will send and have one sent to you. Composed by Prof. O A. Whitaker - my older brother - It is very appropriate for the occasion, and I enjoy singing it. Saturday night we sang here in Mackay - There were over $20,000 worth of liberty frans? bonds? purchased - Sunday night at Alder Creek just a few families $1300 purchased - Last night at Barton $5000 worth - Tonight we leave for Chilly a small settlement about 20 miles from here - Tomorrow night we will be in Leslie - I quite enjoy travelling - dont't you?
Ministring to the sick here. I was up after I came from Barton until 2 o clock administering to the sick. Two new boys were born too - one was not expected to live but after we administered to it it seemed to get better. This is a bad climate or something on mothers - The babies are not right somehow - The come into this life before they should.
Say this is a great schooling. I never realized half so much as I do now but still I suppose there is much to learn about nature and things of life.
I don't suppose I shall see you, Dora. Will I? You said you would probably be there a month or more. We expect to leave here in about three weeks. Don't know whether we will be sent to labor in this district or not - I quite like it here, so perhaps they won't send me back.
Just came in from Chilly - What do you think of that for morning - ? but no moon dear now shines here for me - We did wonderfully well here tonight - I mean in Chilly - $53.00 worth of bonds subscribed for - I had one dance afterwards with Mrs. Young - a lady who has sent two of her sons to the front. I sang So Long Mother and Stand By Our County Now. Tomorrow night we go to Leslie - once more we will try out. I wish you were here to be in partnership with me - I danced once last night - but mums the word - d'ye hear?
What do you think about this epidemic that is all over the country? Isn't it horrible? The report came yesterday that the people were dying off by the scores in Butte City - day before yesterday there were 27 deaths caused by this epidemic - pneumonia - La Grippe - I believe it is - So be careful and don't catch it there? I heard too that there were at least a thousand cases in Utah. My companion has been in bed for several days with it but is better now. We are kept quite busy etc.
Well dear, I expect you will find this letter very sentimental, Ha But I am anxiously waiting for one from you to arouse the spirit within me - I shall ever be the same - so good bye - yours alone - Wilford XO Write Quick. Gee, I am sleepy. Good night love.
May 4, 1918 - Hotel Rainbow - Great Falls, Montana
Dear Dora .
It's such a nice day. I can't resist writing and telling you about it. Everything seems so spring like - birds are singing, and the sunshine is most beautiful today. The zephyrs are soft and refreshing. I do wish you could enjoy a few nights of it. I assure you the pleasure would all be mine. How are you, dear? You seem to take life so easy, I wish I was more that way - although I have nothing to worry about. It seems ages since I heard from you - but that's all right - I don't want you to write until you feel well and happy. But I hope you don't get sick. You know when I don't hear from you just so often, I wonder if you are well - We all enjoy good health. I wouldn't know how to take it if I had to lay awake a few nights with sickness.
We are going to hold a cottage meeting tonight at 8:30. Won't you come and join in with us? I wish you could then I wouldn't have to speak. I would have a good excuse. How is your mother? I hope she doesn't worry. Mother worried awfully when Lowell died. I received a letter from Grace. She said mother worried so much she hardly looked like the same woman. It made me feel so bad. I don't know why we should worry like that, we know they are safe, but I suppose that it is in humans to lament over the loss of those whom we have associated with so long.
We are going out to the fort today to visit the soldier's home. I sometimes feel like jumping on the train and beat it with the boys. But I feel contented with this kind of work. I hope it is still going on after I fill my mission, so I can share in the horrors and see some of the excitement. You would think I was a big coward of a baby if I never went, wouldn't you? And if I ever had children they may ask why I never went. I don't want to blame it onto a mission for me not going, although I don't mean to give the impression that I am a slacker as long as I am in this service - I mean no such thing - but it really had not to stop before I get there.
Well my dear girl write when you feel happy. Write a nice long letter, the kind I always love, as ever with love. Wilford.
May 18 1918 - Conrad, Montana
It's cold and windy here, I don't know if this is a very good place to be or not. I haven't seen a decent day since we came. I don't suppose it makes so much difference though, does it? As long as there is something to do and I don't mind it at all. How are you by now? I believe you were sick, I wish I knew. This is the fourth letter I have written you and haven't heard from you, and none of them have returned, so you surely received them. Perhaps they are held over in this post office. A prejudiced mind might do such a thing. These girls that work here in the post office may be doing it. If you ever get any mail that looks like it has been opened, let me know. It can be traced. If this one is read, perhaps they will leave the mail alone. I have heard they do such things.
Elder Peter Jensen & Wilf
Two of Elder Jensen's letters were opened in the post office - but he received them ok. Write even if it just a card and let me know how you are anyway. You know I am a tiny bit concerned. We will be here about three weeks longer - We will leave for Valier.
Babe Julius, Florence and Audrey Lenor Keppner
We were talking to the mayor last night and tried to get his consent to let us hold street meetings, but of no avail. Wouldn't it seem funny to see me talking on the streets? I'd give a nickle to try it and then have you appear on the scene. I would dismiss right then and there.
Please hurry up and write. My heavens this country they can talk about their country all they like, but give me Utah. It beats them all. Have you forgotten how I looked? I'll send you a picture in a few days. I just sent to Great Falls for them. The large picture I sent you is the best I ever had taken, I believe. Send me one of yours if you have one.
Be good won't you dear - write often - as ever yours. Wilford X0 XO
Elder Rulon Dorrity
June 1, 1918 Valier, Montana
My Dear Wife:
No doubt youíll be surprised to know it, but itís a fact, Hon. Not yet tho is it? We are here Dora enjoying ourselves wonderfully. After coming here we found several investigators. I donít suppose you and I was so bad when I was home, that is for staying up so late at night, as Elder Jensen and myself were up until ten minutes after 4 the other night, preaching the gospel all the time.
There was a young lady working for Sister Kent and her sister happened to be there visiting her. Sister Kent had been preaching the gospel to them previous to this however. She was praying that the elders would come, and you never saw a lady more pleased in your life than she was. They had a boy about 20 who was working there, he was also investigating, and after we were thru that night he called Sr. Kent in the other room, and said, ďDo you think I ought to get baptized tonight or wait till tomorrow?Ē He is surely taken up with the gospel. He cried like a baby when we were explaining the gospel to him. His mother is dead and he just feels like there is nothing else for him to do but to have that work don. You canít tell how we fee about it. Then after visiting Bro. And Sr. Stokes we hear that their daughter-in-law wants to be baptized and have her baby blessed. Dora you canít imagine how it makes me feel. There will be six baptized that we know of.
After coming here to Summersí we heard that Mrs. Stokesí mother who has been investigating would like to be baptized.
Excuse me for telling you all my troubles--I guess not. You are the only one I would tell them to. Dora Dear you ask me a question in your last letter that is very easy for me to answer. Altho it is hard for some I find it just the opposite with me. If there is a girl in the world I should love more than you I havenít met her yet. All my planning and high aspirations have had you included. I have never thought of what I should enjoy most for myself without considering what you might enjoy more. If there was only one desire I could make and that promised to me would be this. Give me a dear wife who I can always love, and love more each day and a nice home where we could both be happy and contented. Donít you think that would be a pretty good wish?
Gee, I must hurry. Supper is ready. Can you smell those hot biscuits? Num. I walked four miles just to hear from you then I was disappointed--never had a thing. Expect one tho soon. We are going out again soon for Bro. Stokes he lives about four miles out in the country. Its trying to blow up something here, nothing but wind. Nothing to prevent it. Just a level tract of land with a few rolling hills. Not any mountains within 40 miles. Do write often, hurry, I long to hear from you. Your own love Wilford Hurry and write. XOXOXO
Elder Markham Dua___?
June 26, 1918, Valier,
My Dear Dora,
My but the nights are cool and refreshing here. I suppose you suffer nearly every night with the heat donít you? Would give the world to be with you tonight. I am so lonely. Everything is quiet and still. There are no mountains here on the East and the big moon is coming right out of the ground, the first time in my life I have ever seen it do that. Dora, some how I feel you are near. I suppose you are in bed tho as it is eleven oíclock. Altho you are not awake you may be dreaming. Not of the war I hope. I had a dreadful dream last night. I thot I went home, and I stopped to see you and you werenít the least bit glad to see me. Instead of greeting me with a smile and jovial about it you walked right on past me. I never spoke but made it so as to meet you on the next street. Again you just looked up at me and then dropped your head and walked on. That means I suppose that it isnít time for me to come home.
I wonít until I get an honorable release. The Elders who are out now may have to remain for 2 years and a half as they are very short of missionaries. I just read a few moments ago where they intended to have a registration every 3 months, if that is the case Iíll have to register in September. But that doesnít worry me. I would love to enlist Dora but to do so Iíd have to get released from my mission. Do you think I should do that dear? You see I donít have to go until I am released from the ministry because I was in the ministry before the US declared war, but all who came on missions since that time have had to go. I have had to show my ministers certificate two or three times lately.
Dear Girl you are a little sweetheart to me. I do love you and the lovely letters you write. I guess you find my letters a little sarcastic at times donít you. Will time and different things change a personís mood--but really I donít believe one should write unless they felt in the right humor. Do you? Yes, I do too, because in that way you can tell the temperment of the person. I love to write to you when I feel blue and mean because it makes me feel so good. Oh Dear My Companion is sure putting in some good licks snoring like a good one. I have to elbow him quite frequently for snoring. Do you snore? If you do dear youíll have to sleep alone. Ha ha. Oh gosh but I feel lonely. Just for a little dear, it just as well be you _____ you come and see me dearie. Gosh but I love you. Can you put music to that? I would like to sing it to you sometime. We will be leaving here for the country in two or three weeks. Wonít you accompany us? Iíd ditch my companion if you would.
I received a letter from mother dear the other night. She is the best mother in the world. She says she is lonely without her boys. The Dear Iíd give a million to see her, both of you. Mother says she hasnít been half good enough to her boys and girls. I hope I have the chance of entering into the Kingdom she does. We will tho wonít we. Just think nother to live for in this world but happiness and all of this is enjoined in the Gospel. All our love and happiness comes from the Gospel and is the gospel. Just think of the Great reward here after if we only live it. Eternal glory and happiness. All the nice things we wish for in this life will be granted us there if we live the gospel. If I had my wish tonight I would fly to you. That is something I wish I could do is fly--someday we can.
Dear write soon. I just love your letters that is all. Weíve been out of town for over two weeks and this is the first night Iíve had alone. Write soon Dear. Look at the moon how wonderful. My it would do me good to look into your lovely eyes and caress your beautiful curly hair--forgive me sweet girl, I canít help it. Do write soon before I leave. All my love to you. Wilford. XOXOXO
July 1, 1918, Valier, Montana
Out on a farm about four miles from Valier--the weather hotter than hades--
I am expecting a big long letter tonight from you. I am almost certain there will be one waiting for me when I go to town. Everyone is busy here. Mrs. Kent a dear little Latter-day saint is busy fixing up her bills. They have a quite a large farm here and she is bill contractor. I suppose I am in the way. Georgia is setting the table and I am writing on it she says to keep on so I wonít stop while Iím in the humor of writing. We will be leaving here for Conrad in a few days so write to Conrad I will get your letter there. It wonít be long until we will be leaving for Great Falls. From there we will leave for ____ country work. Gee but one dreads the idea of starting but after you get started it is glorious.
Dear I sure enjoy reading your lovely letters. Iíd die of loneliness if it werenít for you. I donít suppose you have forgotten how I acted a long time ago have you? Donít you remember the time I had to wait so long for a letter form you? What did I tell you to do? What if you had done it? Oh I dare not think about it now. What if you had quit writing, I wouldnít like it a bit.
July 5 (same letter)
I better finish this before it gets so old, Iíll have to start over. There have been quite a few things transpire since I first started this. I wonder what my dear girl has been doing and thinking about these last few days. We sure spent a tame 4th. We were out on that farm I told you about. There was a family of friends who came out so spoiled our fourth as far as a celebration had anything to do with it, but we sure had some good gospel conversations. The enjoyment they have in these small towns donít interest me much any way. I am waiting so Ii can celebrate right some day.
Oh, say this darned phonograph is making a noise, can you hear it. It is playing ďwhile she stopped to powder her noseĒ--quite comical. Its about a young girl that went to vote and just before she cast her vote she pulled a mirror from her bag, and made the others wait, while 'she stopped to powder her nose'. Then she went for a ride with her lover and when the subject turned to love his mind became a blank he lost control of his machine, went rolling down the bank. They took her to a hospital prepared to operate but just before they started she made the doctor wait, while 'she stopped to powder her nose'. Ha. When she became old she decided to get married so when the great event was to come off she and her bridegroom went walking down the isle. The minister with book in hand about to read the ceremony but just before he began she made the parson wait, while 'she stopped to powder her nose'. Har. Just like some of the weaker sex isnít it??
Oh, say dearie I am sufficating with the heat. Our front door is locked we canít open it so we have to get all our air from the back door. I wish you were here with a fan. Iíd send Elder Jensen to bed wouldnít we. Ha. It is now 11 oíclock. I may have to wait until tomorrow to finish. I believe I shall. Good night dear heart. With my best wishes for a good night rest and happy dreams. Good night XOXO
Saturday July 6, 1:30 PM (same letter)
Dear one here goes for finishing this letter. I wonder if you are waiting for it. It wonít get off until Monday either as the trains donít run here on Sunday. I am going to write more often than I have been doing. Darn it anyway that is the only consolation I have with you now anyway is reading your letters and writing to you, and we might as well write oftener, I believe we can understand each other better.
Dear you cannot imagine how I love your picture and to look at them. I can see a whole lot more in them than you can perhaps. Is that the boy in the _______ that offered you a nice steak if you would what?? Marry him? Well I would think that was a pretty good bargain. You never seemed to be very much in favor of it. I wonder why? Shucks I havenít got that much in wealth to offer you, but still I have more. I am willing to offer every thing I ever expect to have if I could make anyone happy. My life if it was necessary. Dora dear why have you been so good to me? I donít know why, only that you said you like me a little. I wish I could be with you for awhile, I feel so damned foolish -
Conrad, Montana July 13, 1918
Just a few lines today. I just received work from Pres. Ballard for us to remain here until he met us. So I expect we will be here about 10 days. How are you getting along these hot drowsy days? It is terribly warm and dry. We havenít had a drop of rain for 6 months. The poor farmers want anything. The irrigated farms look pretty good but nothing extra. There is a big circus coming here on the 19th. Come and lets see the clown. We are out about 3 miles from Conrad visiting with a family of saints. Everything here looks good. The Mormon people have good crops, that is those who have irrigated farms. They know how to irrigate.
Say, Iím about dead for a little note from you. Hurry and write here to Conrad. Went to the show last night had a dandy time. To my surprise they flashed my picture on the screen, there were many others that had theirs thrown on the screen. There was a man that was taking pictures of everyone. People never knew it at the time. Quite funny to see your likeness full size. It was just for advertisement. Come down and weíll take a ride. There are a bunch of Shetlon ponies here and the cutest little buggy besides a Saxon super 6. I am going to have a nice care when I get home. Father has been trying to get the kind he likes. I donít know what it will be, perhaps a Ford. He says hurry up and learn how to run a car so I can drive his--when I come home. Ha-- Write often dear girl. Worlds of love, Wilford
Great Falls Aug. 3, 1918
My Dear Dora,
Your loving general epistle came today, and Oh joy what a good surprise and such happy feelings it brought. Gee but Iíd liked to have seen you when you were mad. I bet you turned white under the gills didnít you?? A million kids when I thought you were going to say a million$. Oh, you make me laugh kid. He was as crazy as I was. Oh Oh, excuse that I wonít say it again. Instead of it being a farmer it was the janitor this time. Who will it be next? I donít blame a man very much though, its only natural that a person should choose from the best and nicest, not looking, I shall omit that this time. You said in your letter that pretty faces werenít anything else, so I wonít say it of course you know what I mean. Say but Iím a liar. Didnít I lead you to love me? I donít realize how else I did it I am sure my old fashioned ways and funny notions caused you to be as you are. Donít be so cruel, not even speak to it. Wonít it miss you??? Har. Did you actually get sor? Gosh sakes I will sure give you occasion to get sore at me when I get home. Just to see how you look. Does your hair turn red or green? Or a few shades lighter. I like blonde and blue eyes. I have only met one brown eye in my whole life that I could ever love. I admire you and yours. I am not going to say anything about your claims though--old men and a million.
Thanks for the good information. If you donít stop telling me such nice things I wonít be able to put all my thoughts and energy into my work. Ha. If I put my whole mind on my work I am afraid Iíd forget to write to you entirely. Donít fool with me that way--from now on I am going to work and try and forget all my air castle building and as the old saying is let nature follow her course.
I shall not be so frivolous and perhaps I make you tired. You donít like to hear foolish things do you?? Listen at me. Well dear I shall do as you say put my whole mind on my work. We are continually into the work and it seems good to have a change and think about home girls boys, etc. I shall send you one of mothers letters. Perhaps youíll wonder who Genevieve Notter is when you read it. She was an old school chum, while I was in Brigham City. She is in Berkeley California going to summer school. Will be a college graduate next winter. Mother met her in Brigham City--quite taken up with her. She likes you bestest though, so do I. Theres a reason. If girls are like boys they donít like to hear about what nice girls and what nice boys they are. I am sure you wouldnít like for me to tell ou about any girls. I have received my pictures will send you one in the letter if I donít forget. I am having one enlarge and painted. It is taken from the same as I am sending it isnít natural of me its too good of me and sort of flatters me.
Say I have something to ask you--I will have to register in September. I would much rather volunteer and go for service in something that I choose rather than be drafted and go as a soldier. I want to join the Hospital Corps. So you see if I wait until I am drafted I will have to take what they give me. I suppose one has to take what he is best adapted for anyway. I am puzzled to know just what to do. I donít suppose it makes so terrible much difference anyhow. It is all about the same, work although some is more dangerous than other. I want to be where it is exciting--where the bullets are the thickest, Har. And not under the ammunition wagon either. I shall write more about my work. Youíll have enough by the time you read mothers--love, Wilf
Would you enjoy a trip to the Yellowstone about next September? Down to the coast to Seattle, Portland, Vancouver then sail down the Pacific to California, then our trip later to Durope. Does that appeal to you? If not I shall take the trip to Europe before we get married. Not much. Where I go you go too, donít you? I think when I get home I shall persuade father to build a nice bungalow down on the farm as they intend building. Father says he and I could go in the cattle and bee business. After we become famous in the bee line, we shall take our bees to California in the winter and bring them back in the summer. That is the way some of the bee men are doing in Idaho. Last year a couple of young men in Idaho cleared $10,000 from their bees alone. I was talking to them they were on their way to California then. Great eh? We can afford a nice home and lots of pleasure trips on that, couldnít we?
Dora, its hard sometimes to tell you what I should like to but in the near future we shall get our heads together and make time while weíre young as well as enjoy ourselves at the same time. Do I try and assume too much?
You ask me what motherís maiden name was, it is Hickerson. Can you imagine what nationality she is. I canít. Son generally is Swedish, but she isnít Swedish. Her mothers name was Chafeur, French I believe or else Jew. Ha Ha. Believe Wilf this town is certainly dead. I wish some would come and raise the lid and start something. Things begin to look here like we wonít be able to visit the homes, if that becomes the case, the result will be, that Elder Whitaker shall take the quick step fro home. If you donít want me to come I shall stay over in Butte? There are lots of nice girls there!?? Ha Ha.
Say I got one of our saints angry at me the other day, she came in the house and her hair did look pretty bad, but I never meant it. I said, say why donít you comb your hair before coming to see the Elders. She never said anything then but later I heard that she went home and cried all the rest of the day, so the next morning I went over and apologized. She feels better now. I never meant it. The dear girl. The saints in the mission field have so much confidence and faith in the missionaries. I wonder if my little girl in Morgan will have? If so hurry and write dear girl. As ever your loving boy, Wilford OXOX
Three Elders on the train to Great Falls, Montana
Where did you ever get that picture you sent of those Kanoshers? I could tell everyone of them. It sure makes me feel homesick. Do you ever hear from Preal? I wrote him over 3 months ago and he hasnít written yet, perhaps heís too busy. I sure find plenty of work to do, but I am never too busy to write. This pen keeps running dry. I suppose you can tell by the different colors. I have a liahona with the picture of the North Western states mission of the Montana and Idaho conference I am sending you. I suppose you know some of the faces, 2 at least. Where you see the X those are my companions since I came in the mission field. I will send you the picture I promised as soon as I get them. I will be leaving for Great Falls soon. So instead of sending mail to Conrad or Valier send it to Gt. Falls, Box 1178. Write soon and big fat loving ones, like they all are.
I will send you some of our beautiful things they raise in Montana. This is all they raise here is dry grass. Russian thistles and weeds. All I can see now is weeds so will send you some. Do write soon, bushels of love, Love, Your own Wilford.
Wolf Point, Mont. 24 Aug 1918
Dear Dora. [note: "Don't forget to send me your pictures."]'
I received your ever welcome letter of the 14th today. It wasn't a surprise, altho it has generally been. I had been looking patiently for two days for it. Imagine the gems it brot. [I can]
Perhaps you'll be surprised to hear of me being in the Indian reservation. Fort Peck as it is commonly known. The church has its Headquarters, for the reservation about 4 1/2 miles from Wolf Point, just a nice spin every night. We are Batching it in the rear end of the church. There are four of We Elders and believe Ma we have a round up when we are here alone.
My but the Lamanites are an interesting people to work among. I enjoy trying to learn their language. They are always willing to teach us their language. I can say a few words now. Don't you think I am smart? They enjoy having us visit with them and sing. Some of them are quite intelligent. The younger generation growing up can all speak English. The old ones retain their own language. It is quite hard to preach to them. We have an Indian to interpet for us. We say a sentence in English and he interpets it to the Saints in Indian.
I would like to have you come up here with me and visit, I am quite certain you would enjoy it. Do you think you could eat dog? Perhaps their rarest dish - of course this is only among the old people. They are a very spiritual class of people. Their faith exceeds anything I have ever witnessed. When ever they get sick the first thing they think of is the Elders. They have had some wonderful manifestations. Some had had visions, others have witnessed heavenly beings. Pres. Ballard was up this way a few years ago - it was the first visit he had made among the Lamanites. There was an old Indian as soon as he saw Pres. Ballard he opened his arms and threw them around Pres. Ballard's neck. He said he had seen Pres. Ballard 20 years ago, in a vision, and he was the man who baptised him. Pres. Ballard had to baptize him.
There was an old Sister who was getting slack along her church duties - she was on the road to apostasy. She came running here in the church one day and said two men dressed in white appeared to her and told her that this was the true church of God and for her to repent and she would be saved. The Elders say she sure is a good saint now and she got down on her knees in testimony meeting and ask for forgiveness. I think they are quite wonderful.
Now for answering your letter. When you mention singing it reminds me of when I first met you. I had to sing in a quartet that night too. Do you remember where I first met you? I believe Mrs. George was the lady that introduced you to me. What a happy meeting. If you go to France I may never enjoy that same meeting again.
Do you remember the last song my sister and I sang? It was - Oh That We Two Were Maying. I can't forget some how the one you sang. Just a Wearin for You Gee it makes me feel mooney to be telling about those things.
I enjoy hearing you sing - it sounds so sweet and innocent. I wonder how some people make their voice sound that way. I have tried and tried but no use.
Say Dearie its funny you don't hear from me. I write every chance i get, and I am always looking for the chance. You may think that is funny to talk about getting a chance to write, but when you haven't any paper sometimes and again you haven't a pencil & paper and you don't like to sponge off from other people - strangers. I know Dear that I should write more often. I keep thinking that I shall.
Dora Dora - I was just joshing when I said I was going to put my whole time in my work. You know don't you that where a person has a great treasure he can't possibly refrain from spending his thoughts and time for that. I have been real busy tho but I never get to busy to write to my Dearest Friend.
Don't think about getting old. When any one asks how old you are tell them are are 21 years young. I am going to try and stay young. I won't be a man until September, then I shall be able to vote. hurrah. I suppose you could vote 2 or 3 years ago, couldn't you.?? ha ha. Don't you wish you had a brick and was close enough.
The Prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: 1.) Joseph Smith, who was the Prophet from 1830-1844; 2.) Brigham Young, from 1847-1877; 3.) John Taylor, from 1880-1887; 4.) Wilford Woodruff, from 1889-1898.
Elder Jensen and haystack, Conrad, Montana
You ask if we ever had discussions on the God Head. I have got a long story to tell you about a Methodist Minister Elder Jensen and I converted. This being his worst stumbling block. We Elders have just been discussing that question where God had only appeared to man three times upon earth. He first appeared to Adam Second to Joseph Smith and Third to Mary the mother of Jesus. Am I right? Did you ever believe that Christ was the creator of this earth? Read the first chapter of the Book of Abraham. It explains the creation very clear. Do you believe the righteous shall have children in the next world? Do you believe we shall eat after the resurrection? These are just a few of the questions we are sometimes asked. In the resurrection do you think we shall have these scars we have now? Can you prove the reality of our resurrection by that of the Savior's? These are good questions - answer them for me will you?
My companion Elder Jensen is sick. I don't know whether it is Typhoid or not I hope it isn't. You are wondering wheter or not I shall be released. I am afraid not for a few more months at least, possibly be a year before i get my release. How would it seem for me to get a furlough for a week about conference time. We are antisipating on having conference here the latter part of September. That would be fine if I could get a week off and come down and see you. One of the Elders staying here did. So perhaps I can. My I dare not think of it. I forgot I must keep my mind on my work. I have tried to since you gave me the hint but some how it seems hard. You shouldn't write such nice letters then I wouldn't feel the way I do.
Don't listen to me. I love your letters. If you would only write 3 or 4 a week it would be lots better. Perhaps you can think of a whole lot to say next time.
Are you still thinking about going to France? I don't believe I'd go if I were you. You can be just as patriotic at home as you could over there. We are thru with our country work for a week. We will be leaving soon for Malta as we have some baptisms to perform. Also at San Coulee about 12 miles from Great Falls we have four to Baptise. After this I shall send you our monthly reports and you can see what we are doing. The next one we shall receive will be for August. I hope to have two baptisms on that month any way.
Dearie write soon and often. It is just you and I. Why don't we write oftner. Perhaps we enjoy them most when they are far between. huh! Good night love. Sweet Dreams. I hope to see you some time soon. With much love and all for you - I remain as ever - Wilford XO
Wolf Point, Mont. 31 Aug 1918
Dear Dora - [Send mail to Malta, Montana]
We've been practicing songs until I am so hoarse I can hardly speak. A good thing perhaps you didn't come on me right now. Girlie we are having the time of our young lives, here among the Lamanites. Building churches and dwelling homes for the youngsters during school. We won't be here long tho - we will leave here Monday morning for Malta.
Elder Lawrence R. Bitton
My but you should be here now and see the monkeys playing around here. Elder Bitton and I are trying to write but Elder Tolman and Jensen are too noisy the poor stiffs. They are both married. I am laboring with an Elderly man, and am Senior it seems out of place for me to plan the work. I bet you are having the time of your life aren't you Dear? Are you up in the hills fishing or picking berries? A crowd of Kanoshers went for a trip up in the canyon one year and we certainly enjoyed ourselves. I dearly love to fish. Don't you know I never caught a fish with a hook and line in my life until I came in the mission field. Pleanty of them here. But not that kind Like the Savior said to the fishermen he choose for his Apostles. Come Follow Me and I Will make you Fishers of men. Elder Jensen and I went fishing one day and we got bit - why the man said he was a heathen. Ha Ha. He said He never believed in any thing. I said Oh yes you do - He said What? I said you believe we are here talking to you - - He said he never believed in God, man, or Devil. We kept talking and it wasn't long until he was talking about heaven and about Christ. We told him he wasn't a heathen, but he preferred that name so we let him go at that.
Say do you like lettuce? I've got a big pan full right here beside me. That reminds me - not long ago we were doing our country work and we had gone 24 hours without any thing to eat - Finally we came to a farm house and every one was away. There was a nice garden so we went out to speculate. What took my eye most was the tomatoes and cabbage. I ate cabbage and tomatoes until I turned brown. After we had eaten all the garden stuff we wanted we started for a place to stay. We hadn't gone but a half a mile until we came to a Farm house. They fixed us up a nice lunch and we were heroic enough to make war on it. Howe'resing - Hah-
I haven't heard from you for quite awhile since you stated you were going to leave. Hurry and write your two or 3 a week. Don't worry about something to say - just do the same as me - write the first thing that enters your mind. It won't be long before you will be in School again will it? Don't worry about it. Let the troubles take care of them selves. You have yourself to take care of.
Do you really think I am changeable? Will they say a wise man changes his mind but a fool never does. Harlem Say if I don't close the Book I am beginning you'll be thinking, that a fool says every thing that he thinks, but a wise man thinks every thing that he says. Won't you. I wish I could tell you something new - Heck. I wish I could tell you I loved you in a new way. I find I am a little bit inclined to be like the Indians, I motion instead of telling - Hurry and write Cable gram Letter gram Just so it comes from you. Don't mind me - Just write oftner -
Conference is in Butte in September about the Latter Part. Write soon as B4 Lovingly Wilford good night 11:25 I get mighty lonesome to see you- but I can't help it.
I wonder if you are still writing to the Falls -?? I haven't heard from you for a long time - I have written about 3 times and I haven't heard a word in return - Don't get sick will you - or even so busy you can't find time to write - Ha - Perhaps the reason i haven't heard from you is - - I haven't called for my mail for a week. We are about 3 miles from Conrad, staying with Bro. Stokes, and no one has called for the mail yet.
Are you the same nice little girl always playing with someones heart or trying to play some little joke? Lets make some sugar candy? Or steal a chicken and have a fry - I enjoyed those nice dainty lunches you prepared home - I enjoyed those nice times and Bright moon light nights. Then you went and told me I was just going with you because -- just because everyone thot you were to classy for them - Ha - A good slam for me - If you want to of couse I thot I was just as big as you and so I made the first attempt - Oh "how I lied - perhaps I better not tell - you were aware of the fact tho weren't you? Do remember how it all happened?\
Just to a little dance I ask Miss boyce if I could accompany her home - She hesitated but not very very much. A slight excuse about Miss Foster being along with you and Mrs. Howlett's girl being with you, etc. Then when I told you, you better or some one would knab you on the street you gladly responded.
Elder William Wooldridge, Hinsdale, Montana, 1919.
[The end pages of two partial letters, no place given, not dated, but possibly before September 1918
Number 1 .... I enjoy recalling those past remembrances. They seem so dear to me = Then from that time forth the seeds were sown faster and faster. Now it all seems like a dream. We've greatly improved on the first night. Oh I have so much to tell you when I return home I can hardly wait -
Hurry and write Dear Dora - I shall be leaving for the Falls soon. I have a premunition that I will be released by Xmas. What do you think about me staying here and work the rest of the winter and then by the next winter be prepared to go to the coast and attend a military training school? This cruel war tho - I shall have to register in Sept. Will tell you all about my plans when I see you. Good night Love - Be good and have a good time - Your Lovingly Wilf.
Number 2 .... Do you ever hear from my sister Athella Avery any more? I bet Andy the poor chumb is happy as a lark - isn't he? I would like to have been there when that took place. Where are you going to teach next Winter? in Kanosh? I bet not - Ha - Would you like to again?
I wish you would get a job in Butte teaching Ha- quite a sensation etc.for awhile - If you did they would ship me out in short order - Say I am glad it wasn't in New Zealand lots rather be home - I felt glad when they changed me in S. L. The last night I was with you, I never realized that I was going to land in Butte. I thot perhaps it was the last time I would see you again but it isn't. I don't care whether you get married or not while I am away - I am coming to see you just the same. I hope when I do I won't find that condition though.
I received a letter from my old pal Preal - he is in Tennessee. I suppose you hear from him - I wish I were with him - We would have a jolly time - too jolly - I am afraid. Dora my dear little one Write soon and - be good - Your True Friend Wilford - If you see Bro. Joel Ricks tell him hello for me -
Elder Everett Robins, Scipio, Utah
Malta, Mont. Sept. 3 - 1918
It seems as tho we are on the road half of the time. We arrived in Malta yesterday, and we only expect to be here for about five more days. We are certainly enjoying our labors here. There are two or three earnest investigators here and we are kept busy from nine oclock until 11 at night explaining the Gospel.
Say don't you know I am worse now about staying up late at night, than I was when I was home ???? We were up until 4:10 in the morning preaching the gospel, they were so interested in the gospel that we never lost a minutes time, and it was 4 oclock before we realized it.
Dear don't you ever get tired of me telling you our experiences. I never have any trouble, so i must tell you some of our good times. A person never realized the real joy and satisfaction a person receives in the gospel and by explaining it to others until they get into the work. Like the Indian says until they begins to realize about the Gospel they no savvy.
Are you enjoying your vacation? I suppose you'll be enjoying yourself in the school room before long, won't you? It seems quite natural to hear the school bell ringing. I imagine you would just be taken up with so many bright faces with their eyes on their leader or teacher. You may be the means of starting some young boy or girl in the great work oflife, by your every word or by some simple thot you may leave with them that will continue with them all thru their lives.
I love little children, I think they are wonderful. Is there anything more beautiful than a pink and white flower we call baby? I have paper home under the clock that I wrote about the baby. If any one should read it they might think I was a nurse mother? or something. But I am not. Say you were saying something in the last letter about some thing you would tell me about - what was it. You musn't keep a persons curiosity aroused.
I will have to register on the 12 of Sept. Do you believe it. I will be a man tomorrow.
Mrs. Ann Mackey and her sister in Great Falls, MontanaSisters Mackey and her sister are planning to give me a good licking tomorrow. I have a hunch they are going to have a surprise, as they both went up town, and I ask her little girl where they were going. She said she wouldn't tell me and said they will sure fix you tomorrow. I am looking for it so beware. I will sure surprise them. There is a boy friend here that has got a ministers character costume. A false mustache eye brows, and hair very neat set. he is going to doll me up I will sure have a good time. It seems an awful long time since i heard from you perhaps there is a letter for me now in Wolf Point. Is is my third one - so see dear how you will have to write to catch up. Do write soon. This is about all the nonsense i can think of. I have tried to forget you but I can't very well but I am getter better in that regard don't you think so. Hurry my sweet girl as ever XO XO Wilford.
Anaconda, Montana Nov. 6, 1918
Dearestó I guess you donít know it, your ever welcome letter came yesterday and am always anxious to hear from you. Say listen girlie if I was there where you were, you wouldnít be nursing the sick, nor me either. If you donít be careful youíll take a relapse and be worse than the flu. There is wisdom in all things and donít you know you shouldnít be staying up day and night, heavens girl do be careful for your own sake and for the sake of your health. Har. Thatís the words with the back on eh? Mostly bark tho--But really I donít think you should be working so hard after just recovering from that sickness. I would like to be there and tell you what I think about it. I wonder if you would mind?? I hope you will take good care of your health. Of course a young person like you doesnít notice the lost sleep and over exertion as an older person but some day all this will show you know. And I want you to look handsome and the way to be that is to retain your health.
I do hope you wonít have to work much more for you may get sick and you know you can catch the flu--more than once. I hope your sister, husband, and children are feeling better by now. Of course I know they should with such a lovely nurse as you are. Gee, Iíd like to get sick and have you come and talk to me. Would you if I was very bad?
Say come off with that old stuff, telling me that some one looks like me (your nephew) and is a handsome guy. I pity him if he looks like me. Squeeze him once for me. I feel sometimes like I would like to have some one to squeeze and image it was you. Poo, why not try a post, if imagination goes very far. Not many girls in Anaconda very tempting.
You ask if a nurse would appeal to me for a wife. Your not going to be a nurse are you? They are such funny things especially old ones. They get to know too much. Oh, I wonít mind you being a nurse, when I get into the bee business and get stung about every day I shall have some one to rub down the swelling. I have almost decided that, that is what I am adapted for. I intend having about a thousand stands two years from next summer. A thousand stands of bees will net a person now four thousand a year. So donít be surprised if you hear of me being a big bee man someday.
This town is surely dead. The saloons are open but they donít ______ me at all. No church Sundays and we have a walk every Sunday. There is not much news here, now only we expect to leave Wednesday or Tuesday for Drummond Mont., so if you answer right back send mail here, if not, send mail to Drummond. We are going to help the missionaries there with the church they are building.
Iíve just ordered me a nice suit of clothes--some spnort(?) I shall have my picture taken in full dress mustache and all and send you one. Can you imagine it--shall I cut it off or wait till you see it? The saints used to have some fun at first, but now I have got a cute one I get the laugh back. Now they are all trying to raise one. Some have every color of the rainbow.
Well lover write when you feel rested and not so tired. Lots of love and my best hopes are for you and your well being and write soon. I am about out of ink so its time to close. XOXO .... as ever, Lovingly, Wilford.
[The following is a letter that Dora Saved along with Wilford's letters. Who is Harold?]
Somewhere in the Hills of Nebraska - 16 Nov 1918
I though you had forgotten me entirely. You wait so long in answering that you forget who did write last. I often think of you all and would like to hear more often so write before you forget that I've answered you welcome letter.
I am sorry you all have or had the flu. You spoke about the jolly time you were having. Mine is yet to come. I have excaped the flu so far but have been in the house with it for the last two weeks. I made my first bach of biscuits to day. They were great. I don't think we will need any more bread for a week.
You see my companion and I started on a country trip the nineteenth of sep and and was only going to be gone from Omaha two or three weeks. After we were out two weeks the flu broke out in most of the town so we thought we were just as well off in the country. It soon got so bad in the country that we couldn't do missionary work so we started to picking corn & we are still at it when its not too stormy. Its raining today. We got through helping a man just two weeks ago to day, near Pilger and was staying over Sunday with him when a man came along and wanted us to come out near Wayne and help him. We came out intending to stay a week or ten days and we are still here and may have to stay a few weeks longer. The lady came down with the flu the day we came out and today Mr. Worley has it so we will have to stay and see the flu through now and we still have some more corn to husk so i don't know when we will get back to town. We have made a number of good friends while shucking corn also our board and about $70 a peace so we don't feel that that our time has all been lost while the boys that have stayed in town couldn't do any thing and it has cost them between 30 & 40 dollars a month.
Three Elders in Lincoln have had the flu but are better now. I am not going to take it. They have four little children here but none have the flu yet. I guess I will have to help do chores now and then get supper. I wish you were here to help out. Don't you feel sorry for me? Sunday is nearly gone & I haven't done anything but work. I am chief cook and bottle washer now. I made a cake & cooked a chicken to day. I won't say how they tasted though.
To night the wind is howling around the house, just such a night that you like to set by the fire place or set around the stove and pop corn. I wish I had some one to in joy it with. No, Miss Sant is waiting for a soldier boy so I have no prospects in view. At least she old me she was. I will soon be an old bach, but i haven't give up hopes yet. I don't know when I will be going home. Most likly in the spring. It seems to good to be true that the war is over. I am glad you hve such bright prospects in the spring. What mission is he in? I think I will put it off for a while, I don't want to be in war the rest of my life.
Say Dora, send a good picture along with those snapshots. I would like to see your dear old face again. Its been two years since i left home & what changes have taken place it don't seem posable. The folks are all well the last I heard. I should like to have seen Metta & George. Tell them & all hello. With love, Harold. address Station B Gen. Del. Omaha, Neb.
Drummond, Montana Dec. 8, 1918
Your welcome letter received today, was glad to hear from you again, and know you are well and strong. I think there is not a greater blessing to an individual than having his health. I hope your mother is well by the time this reaches you. This letter you wrote is real interesting. I never knew the people down home believed in that said vision of President Smithís. There is nothing to it. If it had been true I would have told you a long time ago. Gee Iím smart ainít I? We heard about it a number of months ago, so we asked President Ballard about it. He said he spoke to Apostle Talmage and he said that it was not so. It is rather strange how things get around like that.
My the wind is howling, it looks like snow outside. We havenít had much snow here yet. It has been quite cold 10 and 15 degrees below.
Dora dear you would make a good missionary, why donít you go on a mission? I shall wait until you come home. Har. It would be the greatest experience you ever had I am sure. It does help one to understand life in a different meaning. A person becomes so well acquainted with the ideas and beliefs of all different peoples. A person learns to control their minds as well as their tempers. For we sometimes leave our tempers tried. I havenít had to fight yet to defend our religion altho Iíve called people liars in a polite way for saying things about our people that were not true. Did I ever tell you about the Methodist minister, that my companion and I had a time with in his church? I shall tell you all about our experience when I see you. You hear enough religion without me preaching to you donít you? That house you described to me was almost like the one my comp. And I had this summer. We only had 1 room however. That is the kind I am going to build. Ha Ha.
I received a letter from Melba and mother today, shall send mothers and you can read the news from home. I certainly wouldnít know what to do if it wasnít for mother. They are such lovely people arenít they? I donít see how boys and girls could go wrong if they have mothers like I think mine is. The folks all know I am keeping correspondence with you, but I donít suppose they know that I love you like I do. They gosh me sometimes, to try and get me to say something. I suppose there is time enough to wait, isnít there. How do you like the idea of cattle and bees. Tend bees during summer, in the winter feed and tend cattle? Father has quite a number and I claim a share in them as we have been pards all my natural life. Ha Ha. Dora did it ever occur that we choose our parents in the spirit world? I have wondered considerably. It seems reasonable that we did.
You often see a great resemblance in children of the same family. If they lived before as individual spirits, and we believe that the body grows in the same form as our spirits, unless stunted or otherwise affected in this life by accidents or other causes, that the body is the same size as our spirit, why is it you can notice such a family resemblance. Is it because the children have taken into their system the same materials as the parents? Oft times you see twins that look alike, is it because they were selected to both come here together and their spirits looked alike? Iíve wondered about it. I certainly believe that we existed before we came here. If we never existed before we came here, then it would appear that God is not just. If he created us to become great, why would he create some that were ignorant and slothful, and give others the blessing of intelligence, as person may say because they were more aggressive than the others, but you oftimes see babies that are born at the same time one is bright and the other dull. I suppose you find those in school too donít you?
Perhaps youíve read where the apostles brought a man to Christ who had been blind from his birth. They ask the Savior: Who did sin this man or his parents that he was born blind? The Savior said: Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind that the glory of God might be made manifest in him. Now the apostles understood preexistence, or why the question, who did sin etc. They understood that we could have sinned in the spirit world, of which we know, because, we know that the evil spirits were cast down from heaven to earth during the rebellion, where Lucifer drew away the third part because of their acceptance of his (Luciferís) plans which was a sin. And so we can find numerous ways to look reasonable that we must have existed. I told you I wasnít going to preach didnít I, well I just happened to think about that.
Dear girl I do feel proud of you and all of our Mormon boys and girls. People notice a difference in us only when they get well acquainted. I had a lady a while back tell me I never looked like a Mormon. I ask her if she had ever seen any she said no, only she heard they were ignorant and deformed. I told her to take a look at me and also told her I was a poor specimen of a good Mormon. People are queer beings arenít they. Do write often. We expect to leave Wednesday or Thursday for Missoula. Write often ______mine--as ever your true Wilford
Missoula, Montana Dec.20, 1918
My Dear Dora:
Yes dear there is only one thing I want for Xmas. I am afraid I wonít get it for Xmas tho, probably just after. The was things look I am going to be released about Xmas, but wonít have time to get home fro Xmas. It would seem hardly right now to be released and not come home wouldnít it? I wouldnít mind going home for a few days and then come back to Morgan and spend a few days Xmas time. You may look for me home the latter part of January or the first of February. There are quite a number of new missionaries now in the field, and they are sending the old ones home, so look out Billy--I may be next who can tell.
Oh! Dear did you really get scared when I wrote you that last letter. I wonder if it will ever be true? I hope not. I hope I donít get the influenza--I would like to see you come as a surprise tho. If I could scare you into it I would almost be tempted, but you wouldnít like to be fooled like that would you?
Say when I come home I wonít let you know a thing about it, so look out. I wonít give you the opportunity to run out the back door. How are you going to make me pay? Just keep me locked out the back door? Pshaw. I could be a Lazarus and beg, perhaps youíd take pity on me then. Xmas, nearly here, just 5 more days. Say you tell me you, want a few more yearsó say 1821 before we decide--Well if it takes that long to get acquainted. You gave me an idea--suppose I stay here until spring, and work. I have a splendid opportunity to work here in the commercial live and get up to a few tricks, besides take vocal from Prof. Smith, he is very good. Then come home in the spring and work with my bees and cattle, then if I make good that summer come up and we both go to school, say go to Berkeley. I want to get a little training in music, and one or two other courses. What say you? If I donít make good then, why we can wait until 1921, and of course we both would be much more experienced and perhaps get better acquainted???
You ask if we had to report to the Bishops office. I think that is the way the Elders have been doing. It wonít make any difference with me where I meet you, just so I meet you. Donít bring a big bunch, I feel better just with you alone. Ha Ha
Do you ever hear from Preal, I wrote him some time ago but havenít heard from him yet, he wrote a few times while he was in Mississippi, but after I left Great Falls I never heard from him. I was wondering if he was sick, or something, we always chummed together. I will miss him now if I go home. Thomas Whatcott you knew him didnít you? He married my cousin, and they now have a baby boy, they named him after me--Gee I think I am smart, I sent him a Xmas present.
Dora Iíve been trying to find something that you would appreciate but Iíd rather take a licking than do it. I shall wait until after I am released before I get you anything very scrumptious, as we have to keep an itemized account of everything we buy and turn it in to the office. I wonder how an engagement ring would look among the list of non-essentials. Ha Ha.
Dora I donít want you to figure on sending me anything. The Xmas gift that I want is more than money can buy and I have no use for anything else just at present. Har, so donít send me anything but just a big long letter. You are right about the Elders being under obligation because everything is so expensive such as clothing, rooming etc. It wouldnít be half bad if I were working and earning what I spent. But it wonít always be this way--see how this pen write--I just filled it. I just received a Xmas present from President Ballard, it is a picture of himself and family. He has seven children, a nice girl too. I met her when I was in Portland. Something like that is worth a whole lot to me. Say I have a large picture of myself it looks so funny I thot I would send it to you. At first it looks ugly but the more you look at it the funnier it looks. Some like it but blamed if I do--it looks like I used to before I began to worry. If I send it will you promise not to show it to anyone? Alright. If you want it real, real bad, I shall send it but you have so many pictures of me now that, I guess you are ashamed of them. Say is it ettiquette to send diamonds thru the mail???? I want to be there when its done tho so donít be surprised if I get home before I do. I donít think it will be over a thousand any way. I suppose there are fellows that would accept your stand alright. If they knew you were engaged--you havenít told any that get tho have you?
How do my propositions appeal to you anyway? I am willing to wait until 1920 anyway and see what I am really going to settle down to do. If I make good next summer I know pretty well what to do then.
What are the names of some of those songs you speak of. I shall get one or two and try them. Dora, every day seems closer to you. I can hardly wait to see you to tell you all about me and our future plans. Write and help me out of the difficulty. I think it would be just fine for you to go on with your schooling, and during our winter months we shall always find something interesting to do. Write often and soon--Lover mine--Love as ever, Wilford XOXOXOX
Written on Christmas Day, 1918, the following is the only letter than has come into the editor's hand written by Dora to Wilford during this time period. Dora said that a trunk was lost from the truck during their wild ride down Grant's Pass on their move from Nevada to Oregon/Washington. She said it contained many precious things of hers and she felt its loss deeply.
Morgan, Utah Dec. 25, 1918.
Only 6:30. how long and lonely these holiday evenings are! They never will pass. Yet the sooner they go the sooner I must get to the grind or wheel again. Some how going to work doesn't appeal to me at all. I'm as lazy as can be, I guess. But I don't care one speck. I just delight in it.
The one thing lacking is your dear, jolly face to revel thru the sunny days with me. Went skating the other evening and nearly froze my toes. I am surely some tenderfoot. ha ha.
Well this Xmas has passed with the usual noise at family dinners. Cooking, washing dishes and stepping on anxious grand children waiting for dinner. (not my grand kids tho.) (Ours will be as quiet and amiable, just like their dear old grand parents, huh. Ha Ha) Imagine forty years hence - whew!
That swell picture I got yesterday nearly makes me wild, simply wild over you. If you don't hurry home, I'll have the picture squeezed to pieces. Don't be alarmed. I won't squeeze you any harder than I can.
The most wonderful thing happened last night. I was proposed to in the dance. Yes, honest injun. But that isn't the most wonderful. Bishop Anderson & wife received the grandest Xmas present. They are so proud and happy the whole ward rejoice with them. They've been married fifteen years or more and haven't a child. They both love babies so last night the sweetest 6 mo. old baby boy was left on their porch. They are awfully well to do - Swell home and everything. The babe had the grandest layette. All silk and hand embroidered clothes. They are simply wonderful. We poor people only see the ordinary. These were exquisite. some mother had certainly spent hours of happiness making them. Food, directions for bathing, sleeping, eating and habits were in the basket. It was the dying request of the mohter, so the letter stated to be given to Bishop & wife. They must have come from Ogden. Some mystery. The whole country is interested. Babies aren't appreciated or made so much over, only where they are absent. So common, I guess.
We will say it isn't etiquette to send rings thru the mail, and wait for you to bring it. Be sure it is dark when you put it on my finger, so you can't see me blush. I'm afraid I will never get over that foolish habit. I blush so blamed easily. Remember?
Is Ira B. Whitaker your nephew or some relation? I wondered. He is from Brigham. I just wondered. Too bad, isn't it?
A big dance here tonight. Guess I'll go and see when that fellow wants me to make up my mind. He is just back from the army. Missionary too. Some kid. Don't worry. I never flirt, ha ha. Do I?
Well dear, I am expecting you home every night, but will give you six weeks longer. If you walked into the dance to night - how the kids would stare. They think I'm some broken hearted lassie or something, because I don't encourage any fellow here. I will be, unless I see you this Spring or next Fall, at least. Happy New Year. XO Will write more soon. Oodles of love. Dora B. Whitaker - WOW - Natural, isn't it? XOXO
[Dora finishes the letter writing along the side and signed her name upside down, at the beginning of the letter, a habit she carried all her life, making use of every scrap of available space.]
21 May 1919
My dear Dora
Did you say you liked music? Well I have it now Squalling kids, and romping ones, too, music so sweet to a musical ear, but such harmonious strains like these make one believe they don't under stand very much about it. I like to hear tiny wee ones cry but when their bellows blow until they can make one stand up and take notice it get, ma -- Dora it is wonderful after all isn't it, quiet and solitude as i am now enjoying babies gone to bed nothing to greet my ears but a mid night alarm, and gentle zephyrs blowing thru the Haw bushes. I am going to spend from now until 12 talking to you, planning and scheming from there on - Dreaming I hope of you.
I dearly love to dream about you such pleasant ones too. I dreamed one night I was with you and OH! it seamed so real, that when I awoke, I wondered if I had been with you in my spirit.
Your dear letter of May 12 at hand, forgive and forget is your motto isn't it. Its too bad the mistakes of these post offices fall at this end isn't it? but then I am alive glad its more my blame than any one else. -- --
Oh Dear What an effort, I did make to hear your dear voice. I could hear perfectly well when you spoke. I talked terribly loud but, but, -- it seemed strange to have thot of it since. But it was so kind of you Dear. It made me love you more and more. I realized then that you did care. I felt impressed and girl I know of a certainty. I love you, I love you, oh I wish I could make you appreciate my feelings tonight. I'd give up this job if I only could.
Dora you ask if it were possible for me to come up to conference. If I say no you'll think I don't care Will you? I hope not, but then this must needs be my answer but i regret it. The way we are laboring here together it would almost be wrong for me to leave now. Dear i am afraid if I come to you now I wouldn't be able to leave without taking you with me. Of course, you promised to come - that is fair too fair - I don't deserve so much of your lovings yet I feel at times that I am not worthy of your love
Kanosh, Utah Jan. 13, 1919
My Dear Dora (This paper and envelopes were bought in Kanosh you might know)
Can you imagine me being home again? I reached here day before yesterday. The folks all well and glad to see me, as well as myself to see them. Dora excuse this pen. Won't you say something bad for me? I left Salt lake the next day after i saw you, I stayed in provo for a couple of days and visited my brother there. Every one looks about the same all but the younger folks, that have all grown so large that I hardly knew them. They all welcomed me home. The Bishop was here this morning, had a nice talk with him. I suppose Noble and some of those boys will be leaving soon for a mission.
Dora why don't you go on a mission? I will wait for you, and you perhaps? will have a greater idea of what life means. Then perhaps you will change your mind about me and decide I am not quite good enough for you. I'd better be still or you might take me up on my own suggestions. I would love to see you go on a mission. I could help you a little now. Or would you rather wait and we both go to the old country? That would be better. The folks and i have been talking about me going to school this winter but the influenza situation looks rather bad in Salt lake and it seems that they will close if it gets much worse.
Dear I wish I were there with you this winter. If I don't go to school I am going to work up that way somewhere. I met Athella yesterday. We had a few minutes together. She has a fine baby girl. Nearly as cute as ours. Ha-Ha. I made her promise to write to you, and suppose she will. I told her to speak good for me (for not writing) she said she would. You must think I am slothful. But writing now since being with you is a task and seems rather cold don't it? they I wish now I was back in the mission field it is the best place after all. I miss the same sweet spirit and the good times I have been used to having.
The place here looks forlorn, and empty. I do miss lowell now more since coming home than before. I saw Lon George. We had a good conflab, about Preal and our work. He wishes now that Grace had went. Bill Abraham still looks the same, owen George just returned from the camp. Saw Charlie Bird and all the regular loafers. They are just the same. A few houses built. The telephone poles are moved out of the center of the road. I suppose this was mostly all done when you were here.
But But But I don't know what to do this winter everything here is closed. I am under a 10 quarentine. I can't bear to stay here this winter. I am going to write to Tooele tomorrow for a job I had picked out there. I hope I can get on.
Well Lover mine, give Father and Mother boyce my regards. Tell Sister Good Bye for me Dan and I were rushed that morning Write often Dora and tell me every little thing. How you are feeling? don't get that sick spell. Take lots of out door exercise.
Write often - I am homesick to see you again. I told mother I was about to Bring you down she said Well why didn't you? I wish now I had. but no I am going to get a start with something before we get married. you do the same and we'll both be started won't we? With my love XO Write soon Tell me you are happy I remain ? Wilford XO
Hatton, Ut. June 27, 1919
Hello Dora Mine
Hasn't this been a long week? Just 5 more days until I leave here. horray. Will you be in Salt L. or are you going to celebrate in Morgan. I prefer Salt L.
Was talking to a kid last night that has just been in S. L. He says I can get work in Spring City or Park City, I don't know which - just a half hours ride from the city My I am cutting this short as I am writing again, and I want this to go off before the mail goes out.
Will see you soon Oh goody, I can't wait much long may leave on the first Do hurry and write let me know what to do Your Eternally Wilford XO XO XO
Wilford Whitaker was the Branch President of the Ellensburg Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Ellensburg Branch was in the Northwestern States Mission, with its headquarters in Portland, Oregon. It was part of the Wenatchee District and then part of the Yakima District. Wilford was also a traveling 'High Council' member for both districts, and Wilford, Jr. remembers many trips taken with his Dad to wards and branches in both districts. To Quincy, Ephrata, Wenatchee, and Moses Lake in the Wenatchee District and to Ellensburg, Yakima, Sunnyside, Richland, Pasco, Kennewick, and Walla Walla in the Yakima District. Wilford, Jr. also remembers the schism within the Ellensburg Branch over where the new church building should be built. One group insisted that it should be built at the south end of town, while another group vehemently opposed that location and insisted that it be built up on 'Craig's Hill', a very wealthy part of town. Tempers flared and people within the ward took up sides, some for the south location, led by Wilford Whitaker, and some for the 'Craig's Hill' location, led by old David Gibb. The Gibbs were long-time residents and members of the Branch and were very influential in the community. But the Mission President had approved the south location and Wilford felt he should uphold that leader's position. The following excerpts, taken from the "Life and Adventures of Richard Marden Pratt, (sent by Uncle Richard Whitaker) gives some interesting details of that controversy.
EXCERPTS FROM THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF RICHARD MARDEN PRATT
"About early spring of 1950 we were, the District Presidency [Wenatchee District which had been split off from the Yakima District and organized Sept. 12, 1948, with President John Zitting, and First Counselor, Richard Pratt,], having a lot of trouble in one of the branches. They were quarreling over where to build a new chapel and had split into almost two equal factions. Part wanting it here and the others there.
The Presidency had driven there several times, about two hundred miles round trip to try and resolve the problem, but it continued to deteriorate. It finally became so bad that in Sacrament Meetings, the opposite faction would refuse to listen to a speaker from the other. [I (Richard Whitaker) can remember the frustration, stress, and concern Dad had as he talked to Mom about the situation.] "We decided to make one more visit and call the whole branch to repentance and hold church courts for the balance and if need be to excommunicate all of them. About two hundred members were involved.
"The meeting was called to order by President Zitting. He tried to present in a forceful manner what we would do if repentance was not forthcoming. A man from the back of the room stood and demanded that he be allowed to come to the stand and speak; he stood repeatedly and reissued his request. President Zitting did not want to grant it because the man was a fluent speaker and a leader of one faction. But finally he was invited to come forward.
As he marched to the stand, I bowed my head and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood commanded that the man's tongue would be bound so that he could not speak. [I don't recall who this was; do any of you? - Richard] "He reached the podium, grasped each side and very cockily and confidently leaned forward to speak. Nothing happened. He opened his mouth and moved his lips in the form of words, but no sound issued forth. He stood for what seemed an eternity trying to speak but the only sound he made was coughing and trying to clear his throat. He finally returned to his seat and after meeting could talk as good as ever, but he had no explanation for why he couldn't speak from the stand. But I knew why.
[The first chapel built in Ellensburg, Washington. Dora's grandchildren in the foreground.] "From that moment the spirit changed, soon tears were being shed and they were reunited. The chapel was built and that man later became a bishop, and a good one."
February 15, 1954- "After the conference [District Conference in Ephrata] we drove to Ellensburg where I broke my fast by eating lightly at Sister Elaine Gibb's. But truly I was no longer hungry for earthly food after tasting the spiritual joys of this wondrous day. [After fasting and praying intermittently for the preceding five days, forty five minutes before the start of the conference, he and President Zitting had participated in a miraculous healing through the power of the priesthood].
Held Branch Conference at the above mentioned branch at 7:30 p.m., also very spiritual. I talked twenty-five minutes on 'Getting and Keeping the Spirit of the Lord.'"
[Note: the recipient of the blessing and miraculous healing died about a month later due to what brother Pratt said was, "a lack of faith in her household," not by the healed woman, but by others members of her family (husband and sister). They just couldn't believe that she had been instantly healed of what had been diagnosed as a serious case of cancer; she had literally been at death's door. They had requested that she receive another blessing due to a relapse brought on by their continual insistence that she was sick and forcing upon her the latest quack medicine for curing cancer. Brother Pratt told them that, "it was impossible because they had made a mockery of God's holy ordinance." However, he did give her a blessing that she be relieved of the awful pain and agonizing thirst. "This happened instantly; she relaxed and laid more or less in a stupor until her death nine days later. I don't believe she was even aware of our presence. And I told President Zitting as we left the house that she would be dead within ten days."]
"On the weekend of April 16-18, 1954, Elders Mark E. Peterson and Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles came to Moses Lake to organize the 'Grand Coulee Stake of Zion.' It was the two hundred thirteenth stake. President Zitting and I had been together in the Wenatcheee Branch and Wenatchee District Presidencies for nearly fifteen years. John was called to the High Council of the new stake. I was called to the the first member and senior president of the hundred twenty-first Quorum of Seventy.
[Bob and I had been baptized (Nov. 1946) in the Yakima chapel by our brother Tom just after we had moved from Wapato to the Kittitas Valley. We were part of the Yakima District at that time. I do remember traveling to Toppenish for church meetings. We met in the IOOF Hall above the J.C. Penney store. Was Dad Branch President there for a time also? (no, www) When Ellensburg became a ward and part of the Grand Coulee Stake, with the Stake Center in Moses Lake, it was always exciting to travel to Moses Lake for Stake Conferences across the mighty Columbia River and into the Columbia Basin. Wilford, Bob and I helped Dad take 160 acres out of virgin sagebrush and develop it into quite a nice farm, not too far from George (just south of Quincy).
Incidentally, all my kids (mine and Eilene's children) were born in the Good Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake, Washington. Your Mom and I had moved there during the summer of 1965 and I began teaching mathematics at Big Bend Community College after receiving my Master's Degree from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Besides teaching mathematics and being chairman of the math department I began a part-time Institute program which grew and developed over a four-year period (1967-1971) until a full-time CES person was brought in and I was offered a full-time position with CES. My first assignment was Institute Director at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington and Seminary Coordinator for the Pasco and Richland Stakes. Thus began my career with CES!]
"Water was now flowing onto the desert in that area [Columbia Basin] from the Grand Coulee Dam and thousands were flocking to the area. Almost overnight Moses Lake sprang from a dusty little village of three hundred to a beehive of thirty thousand, nearby towns [Ephrata, Quincy, George, Othello, Warden, Connell] were affected in the same manner.
"Soon Glen Lybbert, DeMar Gale, myself, and an attorney, Ken Earl, organized and incorporated a general contracting company. We named it 'Better Builders.' I was the president and Ken Earl the secretary. We had more work than we could handle and prospered. But I sold my interests in less than two years.
"I had also obtained a Washington State Real Estate license and represented Wayne Turley of Ellensburg. . [Wilford, Jr. also worked for Wayne Turley, selling real Estate in the Kittitas Valley and in the 'Basin'. The years of 1956-57 were busy and I neglected to write much. Long hours were spent in building warehouses at Quincy, Warden, and Othello. I became district manager of all three. .
In August, 1957, I was ordained a High Priest and called to the Grand Coulee Stake High Council. [If I recall, after Dad was released as Branch President he also served on the High Council, Ricard.] One of my assignments was to take the very anemic early morning seminary class of about fifteen students and see what could be done to rouse interest in that area.
"Within thirty days after school started we had one hundred seventy- three students; six classes and five more teachers. So this is what the Lord had been leading me toward. I had a talent of reaching and teaching youth. It was fabulous, never had I enjoyed anything so much. Shortly, Ted Tuttle [Dora's son-in-law] in charge of all Northern Seminaries (Boyd K. Packer was in charge of all the south) visited us to see what had wrought such a change. (His wife was a Whitaker from Ellensburg and I knew her parents very well.) After expressing amazement and congratulations at the mushrooming seminaries and enthusiastic kids, he stated that the system wanted teachers who really related to youth.
"Said I, 'Hire me full time.' Brother Tuttle, 'What degree do you have?'. Me, 'What's a degree?'
"Brother Tuttle then explained that full time seminary teachers had to have an education equivalent to high school teachers which consisted of four years of college with a BS or BA degree and a teaching certificate. I asked if I got the degree would they hire me and his answer was an emphatic yes. We figured the possibilities and problems. I would be forty-six years old by the time I entered college and at least fifty by the time I graduated."
[Note: Brother Pratt subsequently enrolled at BYU and in 1959 commenced the path leading to a BA which he received in June, 1963. He started teaching released time seminaries in Provo and Springville, Utah.
[There is so much more I could share, but this is quite enough for one sitting. The last chapter in his personal history is a detailed report of he and his wife's experiences in Kiribati as CES and construction missionaries from 1978-1980. I'll share more at another time! Reading his personal history has motivated me to write a more complete one of myself] Love to all- Elder Whitaker - Feb 2004 - from Kiribati, South Seas.]
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