A Schoolmarm All My Life
Joyce Kinkead, editor

Chapter 9
Louisa Lula Greene Richards

[p.73]Did I stay too long in the school room
After lessons were through
Leaving my mother and sisters
With all the work to do?
And has it vexed you, mother
My mother, so patient and true?
Forgive me, my mother and sisters,
Smile kindly and gently speak;
I’ll try to do better tomorrow
And all the rest of the week.
If my wayward mind and feelings
Do not play me another freak.
For I have been writing something
Which will likely enough be read
By our children’s children
After we all are dead;
And must I think I should have been
Washing dishes instead?

(in Madsen, “Richards,” 440)

Louisa Lula Greene Richards was right: her diary, poems, editorials, and essays have continued to be read long after her death. At twenty, she was confident and had faith that her dreams would be realized.

[p.74]Most studies of “Utah’s first woman journalist” focus on Lula’s stint as editor of the Woman’s Exponent (Arrington and Madsen; Beecher; Madsen) from 1872-77, one of only three newspapers in the West that advocated women’s rights (the Pioneer in San Francisco and the New Northwest in Portland were the other two). Although the Exponent was assumed to be an official church publication, it was never owned by the church or Relief Society; in fact, it was begun at the request of a gentileEdward L. Sloan, editor of the Salt Lake Herald, who saw the need for a newspaper devoted exclusively to Utah women and who was impressed with Lula’s poetry, some of which he had published. Lula, however, refused to edit such a newspaper until she had the approval of “Uncle” Brigham Young and Eliza Snow. The first edition went to press on Brigham’s birthday, 1 June 1872, and was unabashedly flattering to the church president.1

Before mounting and leading the debate on Mormon women and their rights, Lula taught school, keeping a diary from 1867 to 1869. She was keenly aware of her own lack of preparation. Rarely has there been such an argument for teacher training; she often ended her day with a headache caused by the children’s rambunctious behavior. At eighteen, she was barely out of the schoolroom herself, and her fondest wish was to enroll in a school of higher education. She did just that in January 1869 at the school of Rogers and Tripp in Salt Lake City. That fall she enrolled in the University of Deseret. She planned to pay her tuition by teaching. Her diary ends with the notation that her prayers had been answered. Unfortunately, classes were cut short with her call home to Smithfield (Madsen, “Richards,” 441).


Eighteen years old today. Bright and beautiful the day has been. Nothing of note has transpired that I know of. But I have been so happy. This morning I awoke from sweet sleep with a prayer to my kind.

We have a singing school at home this evening. And a pleasant time have we spent. How pleasing it is to see a class of quiet, orderly children gathered for the purpose of receiving useful instruction. Pleasing to ourselves, and if we be humble, pleasing to our God also.

[April] 12th Another happy day has passed, and peaceful evening come at last. I do not think of ought to write, griefs guess I will merely say good night. How blessed to retire thus with naught to trouble.

May 6, 1867 How I have neglected my little journal of late. But dear me how busy we have been. This morning Lissa [Melissa] and I began our little school. I have not enjoyed it today as I had hoped I would. I want to be a very good School teacher and do not know how. I feel that I am not competent as yet to do justice in this respect and so am not satisfied with what I do. But courage Louisa there is plenty of chance for improvement. “A poor beginning often makes a good end” says one. “Fortune favors the brave” says another. There is hope for the young and healthy. Let doubt and darkness die; For though not wise and wealthy, there is light for me say I.

Still, it is not impossible that it may be mine. I can learn some here attending to the little ones or helping to do so. And next winter maybe we can go to a good school. But I must content myself for now and go to my dear mother. Gina is twenty-four years old today. I want to see her not that I think of it. Good bye here. Yet oh how I long for the education that would fit me to be a schoolteacher in Zion but this blessing I may never know.2

[p.76][May] 7th I have enjoyed myself better today than yesterday and still I am incapable of teaching the little ones the way I want to. Oh for an education, an education that would fit me for the station I long to hold in the Kingdom of my god. Can I obtain it here in the occupation I am in? Shall I ever be able to teach the precious lambs that may come to me for instruction the things which be buried in heart and brain, that I can enjoy only in thoughts unshared and unexpected! Oh for language to pour them forth!

8th We have been quite busy today. I have scarcely found time to think how little I know. I have been quite happy, almost in my every thought. I’ll try to continue so.

9th The children are all gone now for tonight, but I hope we shall see them all well tomorrow. I must not attempt to write much for I know my mother wants me, so adieu my little journal for this time. Sing happy heart.

Sunday evening May 10th, 1867 One week of our school passed. I trust next week will pass more pleasantly than the brightest day of this one has. We shall feel more at home and that will make it more agreeable. I do want to write something very much tonight, but must not. No, I have been away from Mother most of the day and now must go and help her with the evening work. If I can find time to write a little each day I ought to be satisfied. But I want to write something sometimes that I want time to think about, and this I seldom have. But wait there may be such a time in the future.

May 13th The school has been rather tiresome today but I guess I shall feel better tomorrow and that will make the little ones more attentive to think. Yesterday we went to meeting and singing school. Oh I love the Sabbath day.

15th Yesterday I did not keep any journal. But I whipped my brother3 which is something I never did in my life before and hope I shall never need to again. But he is very trying and difficult to get along with as our little Edwin. We received a good long letter from [p.77]Cousin Emma yesterday too, and some sweet little tokens of love for Lissa and myself. I wish we could make some return for her kindness. Today has seemed such a long day to me! I feel glad that the school is out for today. There comes a sweet and holy calm to my heart when I am left alone with my Lissa to ponder and write. Oh my Father, Thou art mindful of me.

20th I haven’t been very careful about my journal. Today I must write a little. I cannot think of anything strange or new and do not feel much like writing any longer, but will hasten to them and write another time.

27th Today my little school has been quite pleasant. If my days were all to be spent as happily as this has been I think I could be a schoolmaam all my life and not be very anxious for the end to come.

29th My heart is full of praise and adoration to my Heavenly Father this day for all his mercies to me and mine. I feel that I cannot be thankful enough to God that he has preserved us so far from the power of evil. What shall I say to speak my gratitude.4

30th I cannot help loving some of my scholars and this makes me love to teach them. I am very much pleased with my school at present.

Friday evening. My school is done for this week and I am not sorry for it. No, for five days shut up in the house with a lot of little children that cannot keep quiet is enough to weary the stoutest heart I think and make any one feel thankful to be released for a couple days and see the glorious sabbath day approaching.

June 3, 1867 My school has been very small and rather tiresome today. I wonder if I improve any in teaching. I have an idea that I do. Am satisfied the children learn some. Let me see, this month the roses ought to bloom, but it has been so cold and dry this season I am afraid we shall not have many. One week from yesterday will be my Leissa’s birthday and she will be twenty years old. I hope the day may pass pleasantly. I have not the first gift to offer her. Oh poverty!

4th Poor sister Leissa is so sick now, and suffers oh so much with her head and face. Her face is swollen dreadfully and has a black spot [p.78]on one side, which father says must be a black sore. Poor, poor darling! Father of Heaven help her, for her heart is pure and her afflictions are great. And her poor, precious little ones, Susa and Benna, for their sake, if not for those who have lived and loved her longer and sinned more, Heaven grant my sister life, health and strength. And dear sister Nancy. I wonder how she is getting along. How I should love to see her and the children! Or even to hear from them.

10th I am weary this evening and hardly know how to write at all. But I have been so negligent about keeping my diary that I am beginning to forget what was transpired since I last wrote in it. Let me see, last Tuesday I received a letter from Cousin John and Friday brought one from Nannie Douthett. Yesterday was Sunday and Lessa’s birthday. We went to Edmund to dinner for Lina was not able to come home. Oh dear! I must go to my dear Mother and help her with the work. She has been alone too long already.

11th What trying things children are! Especially boys; full of fun and mischief and so ungenerous, ungrateful and tantalizing! Really, I think sometimes the better they are treated, the worse they act. I haven’t had a minute’s rest all this long afternoon. I don’t see why they be so mean! Oh hush, for shame, Lula! They are children, have not the wisdom, reason, forethought, nay nor pride they will have when they are older. Must I not bear with their failings even as I ask my heavenly Father to bear with mine? I want to but it is hard, very hard to be always patient and forebearing! Is it not also grievous unto God to see the sins of the world? Oh! let me strive more diligently to love and serve the Lord.

12th This day has passed quite pleasantly and I feel encouraged and hopeful. The little ones have behaved very well and the lessons have gone off finely. One thing I am sorry for. I could not get poor Nannie’s letter ready to send out today. I hope I shall have time to prepare it by Saturday when the stage goes out again. She is a dear girl, this Nannie, and must be a very good one. Poor thing. A hard life she has seen. How nobly and bravely she seems to bear it all. Heaven help her.

June 14, 1867 Yesterday I kept no journal. Last evening we visited the Circus of Mr. Bartholomine. I must confess I was highly entertained with the feats performed, but it did not seem half so strange as I had [p.79]thought it would. There was no enrapturing spirit prevailing there. No peaceful, inspiring influence like that which inhabits the holy places of the Lord. That was the only reason I could not enjoy myself as well as I could have wished. Of today I have little to say. All has passed pleasantly.

17th We are going to have singing school here this evening, I believe, and I am glad for it has been some weeks since we have had any. I must sweep the room and make ready. That’s all.

18th The singing school was postponed last evening for some reason of the teachers. That shows how little we may depend on things of this world. Even from so small an incident a lesson may be learned. Today the children have behaved tolerably for such young people. I don’t think they wish to vex me. Most of them seem to like me pretty well. And I can like them all but one. He does not seem to care whether he pleases me or not. But for him I feel more sympathy and compassion than revenge. Now that’s enough for this time.

20th I have not felt well today and perhaps been hasty and impatient with my scholars; but they have been so tedious and tormenting that I could hardly stand it. I do so wish I could attend a good school. I would be so good and kind I think I would that the whole school would like me. And oh how I would study and how much I could learn, and what lots of things to write about.

21 Another week of my school has passed. I have become quite satisfied with it, only the thought will not rest. Oh if I was but competent to teach and control. Perhaps I shall be sometime. Perhaps too soon I shall not need to be! Oh how uncertain is the life we live! This morning brother Flavius started forth, and with him went an honorable young man, just in the flush of manhood, healthy, gay, apparently so well! Now they tell me he’s on earth no more! It seems to horrible that fatal accident which took from earth a brave and stout young man. Poor Thomas Odikirk! But, no, why pity him; he suffers not; he must be now at rest; but oh the parents and the brother left, let me not think of them. My father comes, my brother too; how slow and sad they come. God help the sad bereaved ones; give them strength to bear the burden which fell upon them.

22 This afternoon the funeral took place in which the remains of the poor, unfortunate young man of whom I was writing yesterday [p.80]were conveyed to their last earthly resting place. We all attended. On our return Leissa and I called to see Mary Kelly. She said she was feeling pretty well for her she thought. Poor girl, she has been sick such a long time and looks so very miserable! God bless her and give her strength and health once more and cheer her in all her hours of loneliness.

June 23, 1867 This holy Sabbath day how calm and peaceful seem all things.

24 The school has passed so pleasantly today. I’ve scarcely wished it time to close until it was. We have had a new scholar, poor little Mary Homer, who is very lame.

25 I am sorry that I am obliged to dismiss my school this forenoon until Thursday but cannot help it. We are expecting some City cousins here tomorrow and of course I must help prepare for them this afternoon and also entertain them tomorrow, providing they come.

27 Yesterday the company that we were expecting did not disappoint us. They came. Brother Robbins and wife and two city cousins, Miss Vilate Young, Uncle Joseph’s daughter, and Miss Nettie, Uncle Brigham’s daughter.5 They were sociable and lively and I enjoyed myself very well, much better than I had anticipated. Today I have kept no school for Leissa has had a quilting and wished me to be to it; so merely to please her and Lissa, I left my school and stayed with them; but Leissa was ungrateful and wanted to wrap me in the quilt when it was done, so I ran away and locked myself up in the schoolroom.

9 o’clock. Oh dear! Sister Lina is sharper than I and beside chance favored her and I put myself in her way, not thinking that she would still try to trick me. But she did it fairly thoughtlessly, not supposing I should care. And how foolish of me to care for so simple a joke, but I was surprised and hurt at my sister’s last act toward me, when she had felt so bad because she thought she had hurt my feelings for I had no idea that she would so soon forget and be trying to plague me again. However, it was a good joke, or such as some people like and might as well be at my expense as any one’s. She put the quilt around me.

[p.81]30 Sunday again. And everything as calm and bright as ever. How I love this day.

July 9 I have kept no record of the passed week, not even of the 4th, the blessed day of Independence to a once proud and free nation.6 It passed off first rate here, only there were some who would not or could not prove themselves men; and consequently there was some little disturbance in the place. Yet for all that, I enjoyed the day very well, at least the most of it that should suffice. Today has been much too warm for comfort. Nothing new. Times too dull to speak of, much less talk about.

11 I have been writing something today, something for a bereaved one. I’ll not state what here, for it matters not; but I have written with pure and I think faultless design and heaven grant I may be a comforter, a peacemaker. Oh my Father give me power to do good in thy Kingdom and to work righteousness upon the Earth, and be this ever my greatest desire.

12 I promised my precious mother I would come home when school was out and must not stay here to write no; however much I may desire to do so, for I must not wrong my darlings when I know it and can help it and I’m sure they need my help.

Sunday July 15, 1867 Yesterday was Sunday, yet we spent most of the day away from home. Lina, Leissa and myself at the Molins, where I must confess I enjoyed myself very well, although I regretted not attending church as I had anticipated. I feel quite well and at peace today, only a little tired. I have nothing of importance to write and shall not write much. I hope I can go and see poor Mary Kelsey tonight, for I have not been there for some time.

21 Sister Nancy and her little ones came home with Flavius last Friday and this is Sunday and I have not had a chance since they came to write any until now. Wasn’t we glad to see them though! I have stayed home from meeting today on purpose to be with them and because mother wished me to.

29 Here we are at dear Eliza’s7 in Great Salt lake City. I shall not be [p.82]able to write any thing here for I have to talk so much, must wait until we get home and then try to make up for last time.

August 9th We reached home, our own peaceful, quiet home last evening at 10 o’clock. My brother, sister, and self have been absent from home two weeks; spent most of the time in G. S. L. City where we had a very good time. But oh am I not glad to be at home once more and should I not be most thankful to find my beloved parents and friends well as usual and so happy to welcome us back to our dear, happy home.

11 Sunday, and I have not been to meeting today. Last Sabbath we were in church in the City and enjoyed it so much, but today I was tired and staying at home.

12 Have been teaching today and writing to my darling Emma. Bless her.

15 Jared and Lizzy came and stayed all night with us last night and went on their way to Bear Lake this morning.

16 Have written to my cousin John today and wish to remember the day.

September 3rd, school closed, last Friday and I parted with ten children sadly for they all wanted my school to continue and it had become pleasant for me.

9 A happy day has this one been to me. Welcoming our beloved President [Brigham Young] and his company to our Settlement is a thing so rare not to cause some excitement such as I love. Then the meeting which they held was excellent and cheering. And this evening I had the pleasure of an introduction to Brother Geo. Q. Cannon, the Editor of our children’s paper.8 It is so interesting to listen to such good and wise men. Uncle Brigham called on us too and stayed a few moments.

September 25, 1867 It is just a year today since I received my first [p.83]letter from cousin John. I was spinning then, am spinning today. How little things have changed; one could almost think it is the same day yet that day my sister Nannie was twenty five and today she is twenty six years old. All seems as bright as beautiful blessed as then, but I am slightly changed, not for the worse, I hope, not sadder sure, but trust a wiser and better girl. Heaven grant I may each year improve in goodness.

Dec. 15, 1867 One, two, almost three months since I have written a word in this journal. How busy! busy! busy! we have all been! Every day something has been going on to prevent me from writing and then evenings and Sundays I could not feel like it. And now, mother says it is late and I had better go to bed. But first, I must say, what a good sermon my dear Father preached tonight. I felt well-payed for going to church for I love such discourses.

22 A week ago tonight I enjoyed the meeting so well that I should like to have gone this evening. But this day was my Father’s birthday, he is Fifty-three years old, and he wished his family to be together as much as possible. We were all here, every living member of his family were with him at the supper table except Flavius and Nancy. Perhaps in another halt century we shall all gather with him in a new and holy mansion. Heavenly Father grant we may all be worthy to meet him there and then it matters little when we are called from mortal existence.

30 Monday evening. I am alone in the kitchen and while chance presents itself I will write a few words concerning the past, present, and future. To begin with, what a nice, pleasant evening we had. Wednesday the 25th, which of course was Christmas, I like little social parties, I like good company, I like to be at home and like to dance and sing and see other people enjoy themselves. And all this I enjoyed sweetly Christmas night. Then to hear good men talk and pray, I should enjoy nothing in company without that. And this we also had right here at home. Yesterday I attended Sabbath School and went to see Mary Kelsey, now Mrs. Roskelly. Poor thing she is so sick and weak! Today we have had washing done and I am tired. Day after tomorrow is New year, but I can say nothing of it till it comes.

Jan. 1st, 1868 Well, New Year’s day is passing as it commenced, calm and quiet with us. We are alone, our little family, just six of us: [p.84]Father, Mother, Leissa, Leibie, Daniel, and Edwin. It is snowing very hard this evening, but there is no wind and it does not seem very cold. I have written to Emma today and hope to hear from her soon and also her brother.

20 Today we commenced going to school to Bro’s Wright and Bybee. I hope we shall enjoy it but am rather fearful. I think I have said almost nothing about our Sabbath Schools and yet they are very interesting to me. I wish I could see my poor suffering friend Mary K. Roskelly better. She is very sick now.

25 Last night I stayed with Mary, poor, patient girl. She would like so to get well but I fear she never can in this life.

26 She is gone. Last night, all night, I with others watched beside her bed; anxiously watched until a quarter past 12 when she died. After all she had suffered she went away without a struggle. Leissa and I have been at the Bishop’s all the afternoon and evening, helping to prepare her burial clothes. Tomorrow all will be over. But the poor Mother! It will be long ere she forgets.

27 If our dear little Admanzah was living he would be 14 years old today. But he left us five years ago this month, the 30th. And there are lonely and aching hearts in this place tonight for the bishop’s young wife, who was the only daughter of Bro & Sister T. Kelsey, was buried today. I attended the funeral of my dear friend and can say that Bro. Heyde’s sermon was excellent. But alas! who can describe the feelings of the bereaved ones.

February 1, 1868 Another month has passed away and still my brother does not come. Every day we look for him longingly and anxiously and still he comes not. I could be wretched thinking of the dangers which surround him but I know the Great Creator watches over His children and I trust all to Him.

5 He has come! My dearest brother through the mercies of an almighty God he is with us again. Sister Nancy with her husband and little ones also came to us this afternoon and Edmund and his family are here. The evening promises to be pleasant and interesting and I must not stay away from the family circle. How thankful I am that we have a comfortable place to gather.

29 The last of the month. Leap year. And all well.

March 12, 1868 Evening. Oh what a time I’ve had with the little [p.85]ones today. Given them to look after and wait on. All at sister Eveline’s, she being absent herself up to father’s where our dear Nancy has this day given birth to a nice little daughter.9 How thankful we all are and ought to be that all is as well as it is! May the little one given to us, live upon the earth a long, useful, and happy life, being blessed of the Lord continually. We shall, of course, have a very busy month, no time to write might as well say goodbye to my journal and also to my correspondents for the present. But I’ll try to make it all up in time. My Father is very merciful to me and I trust in Him for all good. Now I will retire to rest for tonight. So much for March.

April 3, 1868 This is my dear mother’s 52nd birthday, we are all at home, everyone of her own children who are living. Sister Nancy has got on freely, the little girl grows as fast as possible but is quite unwell today—next week I shall be nineteen. Heigh Ho!

7 Daniel is ten years old today. We had designed giving him a nice little children’s party but mother is sick with the face ache so we are very busy.

8 Just a year ago today I entered my nineteenth year; and now my 20th. But little change has taken place with me. I am almost just the same. New thoughts, new feelings, new desires have found a place within my heart but this is all. Still, I am changed, though not apparently, though no one marks the change but me. And it is well; I had much rather that it would be so. I have been deceived in one I thought to be a true and virtuous woman. I never saw her but her letters came, so kind. I thought so noble and sincere; and much I prized them and now to think they came but from a false, unfeeling heart or else they came not from the heart at all! I think it has learned me something, and I will not allow myself to grieve for it. But I shall love candor all the more and prize the hearts of those I know are true more than before. I see the difference between her letters and the ones I loved still. In his, my cousin’s, I mark true, manly feeling and candor never laid aside to please. I will still pray to see him here, rejoicing with the Saints.

July 6, 1868 Last April I accompanied my sister Nancy to her home [p.86]which was then Bear River Bridge Toll House.10 Came home with my brother on the 27 of the month, returned to my sister’s on the 6th of May in company with F[ranklin]. W[heeler]. Young (her husband) and home again the 6th of June. Just one month today, having been from home just a month.

Today all the inhabitants of Cache Valley are required to hold a solemn fast and pray to Him who hears righteous prayers that the grasshoppers may not destroy the crops. For three long weeks my dear, devoted mother has been very sick, bedfast much of the time, and three times almost gone with faintness and pain! Thank heaven she is better now, we hope and trust, may live for many years and be yet blessed with health.

Salt Lake City, UT, January 1st 1869 Yes, this is the New Year; and here am I, so far from home and family, but not from friends. My aunt, her mother and husband are all very kind to me and I feel more at home than I had thought I could; and yet it seems so strange to be here for the purpose of going to school, to stay from home all winter—if all be well. Last Sunday father brought me here, last Wednesday he left me; and Sister House also started in for her home the same day. Next Monday must be my first day at the school if nothing happens to hinder. Hope I shall like it and get on well.

13 Jan. 1869 I enjoy my school even better than I anticipated. Think the Sabbath School will afford me much interest and my first season in the City will be quite a pleasant one. My dear brother Flavius has been to see me and left me with a good heart and for him a blessing and a prayer that he may come again soon. The Good Shepherd blesses one in every way and holds me kindly in His care.

14 This day has been only pleasantness and success, the lessons and all save that I was too late at school this morning which by a little haste and care I might have avoided. I must try hard to do better ever after. But for all friends, all favor, all success, I thank my Gracious Father.

15 The school was pleasant to me today and all my lessons perfect for which I feel very thankful to my God, realizing that even the small-[p.87]est good and pleasure I enjoy is given by His gracious hand. It is half past 9 o’clock p.m. and my beloved brother Flavius just came in a moment since and his cheery presence makes the spirit of peace still sweeter.

24 I have made some new acquaintances at school, some with which I am well pleased. I will mention names another time. Have met with but one real difficulty in my lessons. The class laughed at my reading and jeered because the teacher bade them imitate me. I don’t care now though, but it hurt at the time. They write me from home that my mother has been so very sick and is better but still quite low. If I can only live wisely and humbly enough to claim the blessings of the faithful in this and the eternal world, I feel that do will grant me this, that I may again meet with all the friends I have left in and around my home.

Monday, 25 I did so want a letter this evening to tell me how my darling mother is, but none came.

Tuesday 26 Now I hope my brother will bring a letter for me tonight; I do so long to hear from home. When dear Flavius is gone, I shall feel quite lonely I fear, he is ever so good, so kind, so noble! I know not how I could live without him. Little Frankie was absent again today. I hope nothing is wrong with him.

Wednesday 27 This would have been my Manny’s [Admanzah] 15th birthday, but he left us six years ago. I have letters from home tonight, long, loving, cheering. My mother was able to write a few lines. I thank God that she is better. I want to write to her but cannot tonight. It is past 11 o’clock.

February 3, 1869 Flavius is away and it seems a very long a time that he stays, but God is very good to me and gives me kind, good friends.

23 I am not in school today for I was not well this morning and had letters to write to those true devoted ones at home.

24 I’m not able to go to school today; had a letter from home night before last which told me my dear little brother, Eddy, was very sick. Have not been well since but Aunt Emma and her mother are so good to me that I am only grateful.

March 2, 1869 Today the School of Messrs Rogers and Tripp closes and they go east in a short time. I do not care anything about Mon. R. for he did not try to help me11 but Mr. Tripp merits my sincere respect and kind remembrance and has it.

[p.88]4 The school children all assembled in front of the 13th Ward Assembly rooms, where we have been going to school for the purpose of having a picture taken of the whole school. Mr. Tripp desired and arranged it. I hope it will be satisfactory.

8 My sister Rhoda’s birthday. Prof. Park commenced school today, and I started to go to his school,12 think I shall be very well satisfied with it.

2 Three weeks’ trial of the new school convinces me that it and I can agree very well. In fact, I like it much. Neither of the teachers are like Mr. Tripp but then I did not expect they would be; few men are. Only a little more than a week and conference time will be here [held twice a year in April and October] and I shall see my dear parents once more, through the mercies of God. How my prayers with regard to school have been answered.



1. The history of the Woman’s Exponent is worthy of a book-length study in itself. Page calls it a “forum for their [Utah women’s] literary talents,” providing a place for women to polish their craft “until an identifiable literary elite emerged” (2). When Louisa decided that her family took precedence over editorship, she resigned from the paper, and another schoolteacher—Emmeline B. Wells—became the second editor in 1877, remaining in that position until 1914 when the Exponent was replaced by the church-sponsored Relief Society Magazine. The Exponent rose again phoenix-like in 1974 when a group of Boston women who wanted to combine Mormonism and feminism began publishing Exponent II (Arrington and Bitton, 237).

2. This entire paragraph was written horizontally across the page to conserve precious paper.

3. There were thirteen children in the first marriage: Emily, Evan, Rhoda, Nancy, Susan, Ann, Melissa, John Portineus, Admanzah, Jasper, Daniel Kent, Edwin, and, of course, Louisa. The second marriage produced Joseph, Zerviah Susie, Melbourne, Elizabeth, and John Platt.

4. Lula had not lost her faith in spite of the deaths of her siblings, her sister Rhoda, who died in childbirth, and her younger brother Admanzah. Two older siblings died in infancy.

5. Lula’s parents were first cousins; their mothers were both sisters to Brigham Young (Arrington and Madsen, 118).

6. Lula’s feelings toward the federal government were no doubt colored by the recent Civil War plus its attitude toward Mormons.

7. Probably her “aunt,” Eliza R. Snow, one of Brigham Young’s wives. Young was Lula’s great-uncle. Whatever the relationship, Lula valued Snow’s opinions.

8. George Q. Cannon was a church publisher and owned a bookstore; he published the Juvenile Instructor for young people, which was replaced after his death in 1901 by the Children’s Friend. His bookstore became Deseret Book, “one of the largest bookstores in the West” (Arrington and Bitton, 270).

9. In 1862 Nancy had another daughter, Persis Louisa Young, who became the second wife of Lula’s husband (Madsen, 446).

10. There were two toll bridges on the Bear River—Packer Bridge in Franklin County, late 1860-70, and Hampton Ford, near Tremonton in Box Elder County, early 1860s.

11. I assume it was Rogers who made fun of her reading.

12. John R. Park led the re-opening of the University of Deseret in 1869; Lula was one of 223 students (103 of whom were women) enrolled. The normal and collegiate programs lasted for only two years before being suspended by the regents. Park toured European colleges for a year, returning to become president of the university (1872-92).