In July, 1873, William Groshon, President of the Provident Savings Association and I started for Salt Lake City over the Kansas Pacific Railroad to investigate prospects for the water and gas works, which we were proposing to build. We soon found that a Gentile had a small chance. On our way, we rode on the cow catcher of the engine. When the conductor discovered us, he ordered us back to the cars, saying we might be killed by picking up a buffalo, as there were many herds, and one was likely to cross the track.
We had letters to some of the dignitaries, and used them. We called on Territorial Governor Wood, afterward Governor of Oregon. He told us that the Mormons had threatened to act ugly on the previous Fourth of July. He notified the Secretary of War, who ordered him to call on General Morrow at Fort Douglas, in sight of the city, to prevent it. Promptly on the morning of the Fourth at daylight, General Bonneville was sent to plant guns at the heads of the streets. When Mr. Wells, who represented the Holy Ghost in the Trinity, rode up, and said to Bonneville, “General! what do these guns mean?” “Why,” replied the General, “They mean there shall not be a parade today.” “Well, General! I would advise you to send them back. If you do not, there will be bloodshed.” “Yes! By God!” said the General, “there will be bloodshed, because if you attempt to parade, I’ll kill every damned one of you.” It is needless to say there was no parade.
At this time, news had just come that the Poland
Bill had been passed. This was introduced to curb polygamy, but it had
been so amended and emasculated by the time it passed, that it was a nullity,
but the Gentiles nevertheless were firing guns in honor of its passage.
While the firing was at its height, we called on Brigham Young. He was
engaged with a rural couple from New York. We presented our letters, and
Brigham, impatient that the others did not retire as they had not yet
said anything, spoke in an unoffensive manner saying “I wonder why
you came here.” The wife got courage enough to say, “You know
President Young, when we go to Washington, we expect to see President
Grant, and when we come here, we want to see President Young.” “Oh!
I know why you came, it is on account of our plural marriages, nothing
else – idle curiosity – nothing more.” At this time
the husband summoned courage enough to say: “They are trying to
pass a bill against you, are they not? They call it the – they call
it the – they call it the – “Oh! you mean the Poland
bill,” said President Young, “do you not.”
The Mormons, whether from prejudice from the overt acts, or actual badness of character, because so offensive that they were forced to leave Nauvoo, going to West Plains and Independence, Missouri, and perhaps other places before settling at Salt Lake City. In passing, please bear in mind that the house, 300 North Fourth Street, now occupied by Whitaker & Company, was built of the marble from the temple of Nauvoo and was called “The Marble Building.”
During the time I was in business as Matthews & Whitaker, I went to Europe twice, and made a trip to Panama on the United States Steamship “Brooklyn.”