excerpt – The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins

Click here to see more about "Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins" Introduction

On the afternoon of October 6, 1907, fifty-five-year old Anthony W. Ivins was taking notes at the semi-annual general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He recorded that Samuel O. Bennion and B. H. Roberts spoke, followed by a soloist and the presentation of the church’s leading authorities to the assembled membership. After dutifully noting the names of the First Presidency and president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, his entry abruptly ceased. Ivins subsequently explained:

As I noted the exercises of the conference yesterday I wrote the names of the Presidency as they were presented by Prest. [Joseph F.] Smith. He then presented the name of F[rancis] M. Lyman as prest. of the quorum of apostles & then to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Geo[rge] Teasdale presented my name. I was so overcome that I ceased to write. Immediately after conference adjourned I walked with the Presidency and quorum of Apostles to the Presidents Office and after instructing me in regard to my duties as a member of the quorum[,] the Twelve and Presidency and Twelve laid their hands on me and Prest. Smith ordained me a member of the quorum.1

That this “came as a surprise to the recipient of the honor[,] as well as to the general public, was apparent,” the church-owned Deseret News reported, “but that the selection was approved without a dissenting vote shows that the people regard the choice as the best that could have been made.” The article stated that “Elder Ivins is known from one end of the country to the other as a broad, brainy man of affairs, strong, capable, a leader of acknowledged ability, yet withal faithful and full of humility before God.”2

At the time of his calling, Ivins was serving as president of the Juárez Stake in Chihuahua, Mexico, a position held since the creation of the stake on December 9, 1895. Well-liked in his position, both by LDS colonists and native settlers, Ivins even claimed the respect of President Porfirio Díaz (1830-1915), according to recollections by family members. Díaz, who ruled the country for some thirty years,3 reportedly declared to Ivins, “There is not a man in the whole Republic of Mexico, who, when that door opens and he comes in here is more welcome than you are.” He went on to extol Ivins’s command of the Spanish language, according to the family report, saying, “Another thing I want to say to you is that it is a perfect pleasure, it is a delight for me to do business with you here, because men come here and tear my mother’s tongue into shreds. … You can never know, Mr. Ivins, what a pleasure and delight it is to me to transact business with a man who talks the Spanish language as though he were a native-born Castilian. Come often, come often.”4


Born in Toms River, New Jersey,5 on September 16, 1852, Anthony (“Tony”) Woodward Ivins was the son of two distant cousins, Israel Ivins and Anna Ivins, who came from a long line of Quakers who had been in New Jersey since the 1690s. Israel and Anna were both in their early twenties and still six years away from marriage when they were baptized by Mormon missionaries. It would be fifteen years before they would leave Toms River and join the migration to the West. They were supported in their religious conviction by Anna’s sister Rachel (who would marry Jedediah Grant and become mother of Heber J. Grant, the future LDS Church president), and by several others in the community.6 Tony was the third and last child in the family.7 His parents took him west when he was only one year old, where they settled in the Salt Lake Valley, remaining there for eight years before Brigham Young sent them south to Utah’s Dixie to help colonize St. George.

It was in St. George that the seeds of the cowboy apostle were sown, as young Ivins learned to ride horses, rope steer, hunt, and fish. His diaries detail expeditions into the mountains that include tallies of the number of deer killed and fish caught. He became a skilled horseman and expressed concern for the animals when they were ill, referring to them by name. After arriving home from his second mission to Mexico, he invested in livestock and eventually owned two herds, organized into the Mohave Land and Cattle Company and Kaibab Cattle Company. His accomplishments as a rancher eventually earned him the Great Westerner Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. He was posthumously elected to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. The January 5, 1958, press release from the hall of fame explained that he

got well acquainted with Indians of Southern Utah and northern Arizona in his youth, learning use of the bow and arrow from them, use of the rifle from his father. He worked with cattle and horses with great interest and became a rancher who tried always to upgrade his stock. He did his church missionary work in Mexico, in Chihuahua, where after several short trips he lived 12 years.

He held civic offices from peace officer to mayor, was fearless in his duties and a staunch advocate of legal order. He developed a keen insight into men and his fairness was noted by everyone who knew him.

In 1908 [1907] he became a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the church and was a member of the First Presidency of the church. He was a bank director, a director of insurance firms, of the Utah Power and Light Company, was chairman of the board of trustees of the state agricultural college—although he had almost no formal education himself. He was extremely interested in youth work of all types. His work with the Indians gave him real pleasure.8

WIFETony Ivins "He No Cheat" Utah Museum of Natural HistoryIvins was, in fact, sincerely concerned about Native Americans and was appointed to be a Special Indian Agent in 1891. In that capacity he obtained appropriations to aid the Shivwits tribe and overcame resistance to locating the tribe in more arable land along the Santa Clara River. He appreciated hearing native people say “Tony Ivins he no cheat,” as it became a common expression among the Indian population of southern Utah. When he died, a tribal memorial service was held, at which his Indian friends eulogized him by saying, “Tony good Indian friend,” “Tony know Indian heart all the same as Indian.”9

WIFEOne of the challenges of reading Ivins’s diaries is trying to discover the inner man. He was a stalwart church member and champion of Mormonism, yet today few church members know much about him. He was admired by his colleagues in the hierarchy and those who served with him in the Mexican colonies. He was said to exhibit wisdom in business and government, yet he remains an enigma in his own recorded entries. His son Stanley Snow Ivins (1891-1967) stated that his father wanted to write his own history but never got around to it. Absent that, I will offer a few glimpses into his character, even if his inner thoughts remain a sealed book.

Ivins rarely mentions his family in his diaries. This strikes me as a wish for privacy, not a lack of familial love. His diary was a vehicle to record details of his life rather than emotions, according to his approach. It is in his letters that he is more fully revealed. He writes more intimately to his wife, Elizabeth (Libbie) Ashby Snow (1854-1936), whom he married in St. George on November 9, 1878, when the two were in their mid-twenties. His letters to her reveal his homesickness, a longing to be back with her and the children, but an acknowledgement of his sense of duty to his Mexican mission assignments. He signed his letters lovingly, “Tone.”

He is clearly concerned about his children, as indicated in this letter from El Paso to his daughter Florence (1885-1980). He enclosed a flower and commented: “I cut this rose from one of the few remaining bushes at home in Juarez. It is the one which Bro. Longhurst called the Florence Ivins [rose]. When I looked at it I thought of you, from infancy until now, … and wondered if you, like this rose would remain when the other flowers in the family were gone.” He says he hopes she will not show the letter to anyone else for fear they would “laugh at my sentimentality. O, I thought of a lot of things while I was at Juarez,” he continues, “things which I conclude the ordinary man does not think about and would not care about if I told him, so I just think and say nothing.”10 Perhaps we see why Ivins chooses to record events over personal musings or interpersonal devotions, his diary defining, more than describing the man.

In another letter to Florence, Ivins penned the following:

I had no ambition at all to see my children distinguish themselves in the professions which dazzle and entertain, and which are only transitory at best, but rather in the virtues to which I have refered.

This being the case I feel that you have all met my expectations, for I see in you all these virtues exemplified and am happy.

I look round at other people with whom I come in contact and find no one that I regard as the superior of my own children in the things which I admire, and am happy.

There is no one of the children to whom this applies more than to you. I think I understand you thoroughly, because I think I understand myself, and you are like me, more so I think, than anyone of the children. It was not my habit to talk of my burdens, my ambitions or disapointments, I just bore them and said nothing, and I know you do the same thing.11

Such affection was returned by his children. Herman J. Wells (1890-1950), husband of Ivins’s daughter Caroline Augusta (1893-1985), wrote to tell his father-in-law that “Gusta” told him Ivins had “‘paid for the baby’ when you came in tonight. While I realize that you are not a man who cares for effusiveness in any form, yet I must let you know that we appreciate your kindness in this and many other matters.” The son-in-law mentioned other acts of service he had noticed, including the fact that Ivins had stayed home to make a birdhouse for a grandchild, giving up his seat in a theater box: “You stayed home and worked out in the garage until late, making a similar [bird]house for Betty, while we were all at the theatre in your box. The play was one of the best of the season and one which I was sure you wanted to see; but you let yourself be crowded out so some of us could go.”12 It is true that Ivins loved the theater, sometimes performing dramatic leads in community plays when younger, so it would have been a sacrifice on his part to stay away when there weren’t enough tickets for everyone.

Ivins was an avid note taker. His diaries include notations on measurements, expenses, facts—some outlining military history, others chronicling events in LDS history. He loved to draw and doodle too. A man of humor, he recorded riddles that struck his fancy. “When is a fashionable young lady like a duck?” he asked. “When one is dressed to kill and the other is killed to dress.” Or “if the man driving the ice wagon weighs 150 pounds, what does the man in the back weigh? The ice.” He was conversant in chemistry, geology, history, and mineralogy—self-educated, he was nevertheless admitted to the Utah Bar. He also received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Utah State Agricultural College (Utah State University).13

His extensive collection of letters to and from notable contemporaries includes correspondence with his first cousin Heber J. Grant and others in the LDS leadership: J. Reuben Clark, Reed Smoot, and Moses Thatcher. Now housed at the Utah State Historical Society, the collection provides insight into not only Ivins’s character but also his interests and views on a variety of subjects.14 One letter describes a dream Alonzo Brinkerhoff (1864-1922) of Emery, Utah, mentioned and about which Ivins wanted to know more. Brinkerhoff wrote:

I take pleasure in writing you a detailed account of the dream I had, in which I saw and freely conversed with Our Savior. … He informed me that his height was five feet eleven and one-third inches (5′ 11 1/3″) and his weight one hundred eighty six (186#) pounds. He is round built, clean cut, prominent, well formed muscles showing great strength and endurance; deep round chest, erect form, with shoulders sloping; complexion medium light, hair light auburn or blond, and cut medium short, not parted in the middle; face smooth and free from hair; color of eyes blue; nose well formed, straight, neither too thick nor too thin and beautiful in form; mouth straight, neither too large nor too small; … cheek bones rather high and heavy, giving symmetrical form to the whole face; head well formed, … I wanted to know if he was of flesh and bones, … [and] I could see that he was. His skin was soft and smooth, and his flesh firm, white, and almost transparent to my vision.15

While Ivins’s reaction is not known, it can be assumed that he did not treat the account lightly. His natural inquisitiveness would have generated a thoughtful examination of the dream. Always polite and courteous, he treated others with respect and dignity, rarely betraying any contrary feelings publicly.


In fall 1875, Ivins was called on a mission, along with others, to explore the Arizona/Mexico border for possible colonization. Arriving home in late June the following year, he began farming and entered into politics in St. George as an elected constable. He was sent back to Mexico in October 1877, but he returned to St. George by June 1878 and resumed his agricultural and political interests, holding office as a county prosecuting attorney and city councilman. At a church general conference in April 1882, he received a third call to Mexico and served under August Wilcken (1837-86) until August 1883 when Ivins became acting mission president. Apostle Moses Thatcher (1842-1909), who remained in Utah, was the official president and kept in close communication as Ivins directed the affairs of the struggling mission. On March 14, 1884, Ivins received a letter releasing him from his duties. Returning home to his family and business, he rapidly re-assimilated into the community as a leading citizen, both in the political and ecclesiastical arenas.

When his call came in 1895 to officially preside over the Mexican Mission, Ivins was a member of the St. George stake presidency and a delegate to the Democratic State Convention. He was also widely regarded as a popular Democratic choice to run for governor, and many observers thought his political career would outweigh his ecclesiastical loyalty. Rumors ran rampant during the summer that the church would reconsider its call and allow him a shot at the nomination, but the pragmatic and obedient Ivins began preparations to move his family south. On October 9, 1895, he was set apart in Salt Lake City as the first president of the Juárez Stake of Zion, which would be officially organized on December 9.

That he willingly accepted this new calling at such an inopportune time is evidence of his dedication to his church. Even though he admitted in his diary that he “did not want to go to Mexico,” he accepted the assignment without protest and made preparations to leave his ailing parents, his devoted stake members, his promising political career, and a thriving business. He was not alone in his reluctance to leave. His daughter Anna Lowrie (1882-1967) wrote:

My father received a call from the First Presidency of the Church to take his family and go to Old Mexico to preside over the Mexican mission—a group of colonies in the northern part of Chihuahua & Sonora. Upon his first visit there the colonies were organized into the Juarez Stake of Zion.

I was then nearly fourteen years of age.

Without hesitation and as always responsive to any call made of him by his church leaders, father accepted the assignment given to him by Pres. Wilford Woodruff, and at once set about making preparations to move the family to Mexico.

It was not an easy thing for him to do.

Besides being a counselor in the Stake Presidency he was a very promising candidate for the governorship of the state being also now financially very prosperous and had many interests, all of which would have to be given up.

Mother in her poor health, looked forward with dread to life in a new, strange country, far away from family and friends.

To me it was the greatest tragedy of my life thus far. The thought of leaving my beloved home and all my dear friends was almost unbearable.16

President Ivins arrived in Colonia Juárez alone, while his family remained in St. George until they could arrange to leave. While awaiting his family’s arrival, he wrote to his wife:

When I went up to the office on Wednesday to post the letter I had written I found yours of the 2nd which was like an oasis in a desert to me. … I readily appreciate how you feel in regard to making prep[a]rations for such a trip [but] … from my own experience … I find that the reality is not so bad as the anticipation. … It will be an expensive move but we will get through with it and in the end have no regrets for what we have had to pass through. If you were well I should think very little of it. I do not mind ruffing [roughing] it but it worries me to think of bringing you to such a country in your feeble condition, but I hav[e] concluded that it may be just the thing that is necessary to restore your health and if this be accomplished it will repay us for all the sacrifice. Although worn out and lonesome my health is good and I do not feel at all discouraged, in fact the more I think of our mission the better I feel about it and anticipate that we shall be quite contented and happy when once we are established and at work.17
Ivins did not allow personal feelings about the inconvenience of his mission to interfere with the performance of his duty. He reestablished friendships and came to enjoy his circumstances as best he could. In 1904 he wrote to daughter Florence while she was visiting Utah that he was “not surprised that you like Salt Lake. I do too, but” he continued, “we must not forget that Mexico is our home and as long as the Lord desires we will remain there. The country has been good to us, none of us have died in it, none of us have become criminals, none of us have lost the faith. We have been blessed temporally and more than all of that we have become acquainted with people whom we never would have known had we not gone there and to me these things are worth more than Salt Lake or any other place could have given us.”18

If he felt “banished” out of political retaliation, he did his best to hide it. Apostle Francis M. Lyman (1840-1916), a partisan Republican who was politically opposed to the Democrat Ivins, wrote to apologize in October 1896 for some previous thoughtlessness when they met on Main Street in Salt Lake City. Lyman had laughed over the rumor that he “want[ed] to get rid of you. I felt rebuked at once,” Lyman confessed, “when I mentioned it but [I] was not wise enough to apologize at once. Forgive me, my brother, for such foolish levity when your heart was bursting with tender feelings. God bless you and yours forever …”19


The day before Ivins received his 1895 mission call, a Salt Lake newspaper, the Argus, wrote: “A. W. Ivins will not be the Democratic candidate for Governor this fall. He declares he is not an aspirant, and says that his friends will be doing him a favor by letting him alone.”20 This did not stop the rumors of his ambition, however. Ivins continued to be mentioned in the media, which championed his nomination.

Ivins was experienced in politics by this time and enjoyed the public venue. He wrote to his wife with humor from the Utah Territorial House of Representatives about a petition that had been introduced,

sent in by some crank setting forth that he was an apostate from the Church [and] … had been subject to great persecution [for] raking up the Mountain Meadows Massacre, &c. He wanted a law passed to punish people for such persecution. [Clarence] Allen & [Orlando] Powers insisted that the petition be referred to the committee on Judiciary. Some of us thought it ought to be referred to the Com[mittee] on [the] Insane Assylum.21

As a Democrat, Ivins was frequently frustrated by the bias he perceived, both in the media and in the church. Writing again to his wife, he remarked that another bill showed how the Republicans “misinterpretated the design … and conveyed an entirely wrong interpretation of it.”22 He wondered what was wrong with the Deseret News, that it seemed pained to “say a word favorable of anything Democratic notwithstanding the fact that it pretends to be entirely independent and non partisan in politics.”23 When LDS leaders decided to promote a two-party system and canvassed the wards in southern Utah to promote the Republican party, Ivins chafed against this interference, as he would again in later years. According to fellow Democrat James H. Moyle (1858-1946), “Until [J. Reuben] Clark there was no Church interference in politics in [Heber J.] Grant’s administration, because [Anthony W.] Ivins was the one man who would not stand for that.”24 Ironically, Ivins did maintain a hand in politics, as we will see.

As a delegate to the Utah State Constitutional Convention, Ivins proved to be an ardent supporter of women’s suffrage and was prominent in arguing that the territory’s universities be consolidated into a state system. He was a favorite son from Utah’s Dixie, and as such he encouraged the attachment of the Arizona Strip to Utah. In an era when Utahans distrusted federal agencies especially, he was pro-government. Government existed, he believed, to protect citizens and relieve injustice, which were the ideals embodied by the party he represented. He could not tolerate incompetence or favoritism, and appreciated the adversarial nature of debate for detecting flaws in proposals and coming to an agreement on issues.

Years later Ivins would become embroiled in political debate with fellow Democrat and U.S. Representative B. H. Roberts (1857-1933) against LDS apostle and Republican Senator Reed Smoot (1862-1941). Prohibition and the League of Nations were hot topics that challenged civility in the early 1900s and found their way into discussions in church circles. The divisive controversy over President Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations provided some of the most pointed discussions, Smoot opposing and Ivins promoting it. The issue came to a head in July 1919 when Ivins praised the league at an LDS meeting in Ogden. The media were indignant, as evidenced by this from the Salt Lake Herald:

Apostle Anthony W. Ivins is one of the leading Democrats in this section who is overlooking no opportunity to make political capital out of the peace treaty and league of nations. This he has a perfect right to do as an American citizen if he so chooses … but the fairness and logic of his political propaganda are open to serious question. Mr. Ivins has a right to preach politics from the rostrum even when his congregation is assembled for an entirely different purpose, but that right being granted he should not deliberately attempt to deceive and compromise his hearers by tricky word building that will not bear analysis.

His speech before the quarterly stake conference at Ogden last Sunday was one of the most partisan political speeches ever delivered in or out of a church in Utah. Mr. Ivins took an unfair advantage of his audience by forcing a vote under a false issue between patriotism and disloyalty. The system is the cheapest kind of political trickery and is entirely unworthy of the high office Mr. Ivins holds in his church. …

Mr. Ivins said: “I stand here to say to you that had not President Wilson been in Europe during the past few months there would have been no peace in the world today. Those of you who do not want any more war, any more bloodshed, any more destruction and devastation in the world, make the fact known to your representatives in Congress so that they will not dare to oppose the league or the covenant. … The league and covenant have been framed with the object to prevent future wars. What are you going to do with it? Are you going to approve it?”

And then [Stake] President L[ewis] W. Shurtliff called for a vote by “those of you who agree with his remarks and who wish for peace in the world,” and we are told that “every hand was raised.”

Of course, Apostle Ivins and President Shurtliff both know that if a vote was taken in both houses of Congress today on “those who wish for peace in the world,” the vote would be unanimous for peace, but a vote on whether or not Mr. Wilson’s league covenant in its present form is a breeder of peace or war would record an entirely different vote.25
A family biography notes that Ivins responded to the Herald by denying that he had asked people to vote on the issue. “I endorse the League,” he wrote in defense of his position, “because I believe it to be the greatest forward movement for recognition of the universal brotherhood of God, and brotherhood of man that the world has ever known.”26 The Citizen, another Salt Lake City newspaper, attacked him with sarcasm, suggesting in an editorial that a debate between “our senior senator [Reed Smoot] and Apostle Ivins, one standing by the old constitution and the other seeking to convince himself … that the league covenant is a revelation from on high,” would be a magnificent contest.27 Ivins fired off a scathing reply, prefacing it by saying he “suppose[d] some motive must have prompted the ungentlemanly, nasty screed which appeared in your paper,” but he was unable to decipher it. He had “never heard a jackass bray louder,” he wrote, “and to less effect, than the one who brays through your paper.” In the substantive portion of his response, Ivins wrote,

In order that a debate may be really interesting there must be pronounced difference of opinion. I am strongly inclined to believe that should Senator Smoot and I meet to discuss this question, as proposed, that the difference of opinion existing between us regarding either the Constitution, or the League of Nations, if we spoke our real convictions, which we would do, would not be sufficient to make an interesting discussion.

If the purpose of your article is to create a controversy between Senator Smoot and me, it is a dismal failure, for no such controversy will occur. … Permit me to suggest that articles such as the one referred to, if designed to strengthen Senator [Smoot’s] position, may have the opposite effect.28
Despite his assurances to the contrary, Ivins did not see eye to eye with Smoot on the League of Nations, nor on politics in general. Years later he would play a key role in withholding support from Smoot early in the Senator’s last critical campaign for re-election. While some have speculated that President Grant did not want Smoot re-elected so he could appoint him to the First Presidency, Grant himself asserted that he had already chosen someone else to fill the church position. Smoot lost the election, and historians have debated whether Ivins contributed to the defeat.29

Ivins’s family biographers speculate that his 1895 mission call may have been a ploy to remove him from the gubernatorial race because the First Presidency was pro-Republican and thought his popularity jeopardized their overall political strategy. Others, including Ivins’s son Heber Grant Ivins (1889-1974),30 doubted that politics lay behind the mission call. The evidence suggests that Ivins had been considered for the mission as early as 1891; repeatedly his name was mentioned in church councils as a good fit for the position.31 Either way, Ivins did not leave politics behind for long. Until his death, he advocated involvement in the political process and garnered a reputation for involvement both in public and behind the scenes.


In late 1890, LDS President Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898) issued a declaration, or “manifesto,” that ostensibly outlawed new plural marriages. Writing to his wife in St. George, Ivins penned the following statement: “The manifesto settles the polygamy question.”32 Little did he know that in less than five years, he would become a central figure perpetuating the practice that had just been publicly disavowed, even as he himself apparently remained monogamous.

His son Grant wrote a lengthy treatise (reprinted in Appendix B) detailing his father’s involvement in solemnizing plural marriages in Mexico from 1895 to 1904. Grant stated that his father had full authority from the First Presidency to perform plural marriages despite the Manifesto. Men would arrive in Mexico with brides-to-be and opaque letters of introduction that were written in code. Two such letters, signed by Woodruff’s first counselor in the First Presidency, George Q. Cannon (1827-1901), read as follows:

My dear brother Anthony:

I have a friend who starts on a pleasure tour in a few days. He is a business man, but proposed to take this trip for relaxation. He may visit your region before he returns. Should he do so, I shall feel obliged if you will extend any courtesy to him that he may need. He will appreciate your Kind Offices, I am sure.

With Kindest regards
I am Your Brother, Geo. Q Cannon33


Dear Brother Anthony:

I take the liberty of introducing the Bearer to you. He expects to visit your country to attend to some business there, and I think stranger as he is, you can be of service to him. Whatever aid you can render him will be appreciated by

Your Brother,
Geo Q. Cannon34

Ivins’s daughter Anna concurred that her father had a mandate to continue polygamous ceremonies in the colonies. After recalling details of her own plural marriage to Guy C. Wilson (1864-1942) as his third wife on May 13, 1903, solemnized in the Ivins home in Colonia Juárez by her father, she wrote that the very purpose of the Mormon colonies in Mexico was to provide

a refuge for polygamist families who desired to escape the persecution being brought upon them by the government of the United States.

They sought a place where they could live in peace and practice their religion as they saw it. Most, if not all, of the early settlers were families of this type. It was amazing to observe the manner in which these families lived. Sometimes in the same homes, sometimes in adjoining ones, in peace and harmony together. Polygamy continued to be practiced there. The colonies in the beginning were known as the Mexican Mission and were presided over by leading authorities of the Church. When they were organized into a Stake of Zion in 1895 with my father as the first president he was given the authority of the sealing power whereby he could marry people for time and eternity and was authorized to perform plural marriages in Mexico. This practice was continued until sometime in the year 1904 when all such marriages were definitely ordered discontinued by the presidency of the Church.35

Elizabeth Ashby Snow (Anthony’s wife), ca. 1878, courtesy Cathy Ivins Street.Ivins may have thought that polygamy was dead in the fall of 1890, but in 1895 his call to be a mission president was engineered to specifically enable the church to keep sub rosa what was still considered to be an essential, eternal principle of the religion. As his son Grant explained in his essay, at no time were the leaders of the church unaware that polygamous relationships were sanctioned south of the border. Plural marriages, Grant Ivins deduced, were performed with their full knowledge and permission.

Mexican government authorities, for their part, were evidently neither apprehensive nor concerned about the few Mormon men who had settled in the northern part of their country and had more than one wife each. “A Mormon delegation [including Ivins] gained an audience with President Porfirio Diaz to ascertain his attitude toward the practice of plurality of wives in his country,” reads a history of the Juárez Stake. “After explaining that Mexico had no laws which would interfere with their family practices, President Diaz added, ‘It makes no difference to Mexico whether you drive your horses tandem or four abreast.’”36

Anthony W. Ivins at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Snow in 1878, courtesy Cathy Ivins Street.Ivins was placed in an interesting position with regard to his call to Mexico. Given the responsibility of performing plural marriages, he apparently never embraced the principle himself. He may have been chosen precisely because his monogamy gave him cover to operate without suspicion. In 1907, when he was called to the Council of the Twelve Apostles, the Salt Lake Tribune declared that the new apostle was indeed a practicing polygamist and even named his bride, a Miss Knell of Toquerville, Utah.37 According to the reporter’s source, the marriage was said to have taken place in 1899 and resulted in a son. For his part, Ivins gave an emphatic denial and insisted on a retraction, which the Tribune issued two days later.38 The article had further asserted that Ivins’s daughter Florence was Guy Wilson’s third wife. Ivins denied this but did not insist on a retraction. In fact, it was another daughter, Anna, who was Wilson’s third wife. The Tribune was on the right track but confused the details.

There is an interesting remark in a document in Ivins’s papers that bears on this subject. There is no title to the statement and no attribution, even though it is typed on the letterhead of the church’s Temple Square Mission and Bureau of Information, with Joseph J. Cannon president.39 The author wrote, “What gives evidence of an inherent greatness in Bro. Ivins was not just that he was practically the only person who placed a strict interpretation on the word of the Manifesto [but that he then] proceed[ed] to conform to the rule in spite of the fact that he was obliged to cancel matured arrangements to adhere [to] the law of plural marriage himself.” The implication, from whomever wrote it, was that Ivins had intended to enter into plural marriage at the time the Manifesto was announced. That may have been the source of the rumor about the marriage in Toquerville.

According to Heber J. Grant’s diary, Ivins had indeed wanted to marry a second wife and remained willing to do so as late as 1898:

Anthony W. Ivins and I chatted until 11:15. Speaking of plural marriage he said there were quite a number of them being performed in Mexico, said he was [on] hand and willing to take another wife if his brethren felt that it was the wisest thing to do under all the circumstances. He had no desire for another wife, but at the same time had a strong desire to [not] fail in doing any duty devolving upon him and he wanted me and my fellow apostles to know that he was [on] hand to perform any and every duty required of him. Had all his life accepted in his heart of plural marriage and was making an effort to get another wife when the Manifesto came along. I was glad to have him say this much.40

Curiously, the anonymous writer denied that Ivins had performed plural marriages in Mexico: “I spent a week in Mexico in July 1901. While in Juarez I was the guest of President Ivins. … Of course the subject of plural marriage came up. He said among other things that there were some of the leading men who claimed that some such marriages were still being solemnized. But he added there are no such contracts entered into with my consent.” The author then adds that Ivins had nevertheless not stood in the way of the leadership to “steady the Ark,” to second-guess them. When President Joseph F. Smith “felt constrained to change the policy” in 1904, “Bro. Ivins did not try to magnify himself by saying ‘I told you so.’” The statement needs to be considered together with what Ivins’s son said about his father never personally championing the doctrine but being willing to follow instructions from above. After the practice was discontinued once and for all, Ivins advocated harsh repercussions for anyone who defied the authorities and contracted an additional marriage contrary to church policy.

Ivins possessed an extreme sense of duty and loyalty. He was given authority and he used it, but would not take that authority one step out of the bounds that were set in place, even if others found those boundaries shifting and ill-defined and open to discussion. In 1911, Ivins wrote to his son:

You will readily understand that it was not an easy matter to adjust conditions to the new order of things. Family ties had been established, covenants of the most sacred character were entered into, and it was thought that in exceptional cases, where such conditions existed, and people were in Mexico[,] marriages might be solemnized.

Taking advantage of this condition, men assumed that marriages could be solemnized in the United States, and undoubtedly without authority assumed to do what they had never been authorized to do, and which was contrary to the law and to the pledge which we had made.

The Manifesto was endorsed by the members of the Church in Conference assembled which made it binding on the Church as a body and that action, never having been re[s]cinded[,] the Church cannot be held responsible for what has occurred since, that responsibility must be with the parties directly implicated.

Since the administration of Prest. [Joseph F.] Smith[,] the Manifesto has been made to apply to the entire Church. Plural marriages have been prohibited, and it is certain that since 1904 no plural marriages have been authoritatively solemnized in the Church. …

You may depend on it I have never performed a marriage ceremony without proper authority. You are at liberty to show what I have written.41

Ivins treated his position in Mexico as a stewardship. He may not have led the way himself, but he appreciated the circumstances of those who did: “I have never practiced the principle, but lived among people who did and know that [no] more honest, virtuous patriotic people were to be found in the world.”42


As noted at the beginning of this summary, on the afternoon of October 6, 1907, Ivins attended general conference and was startled by the announcement that he would fill the vacancy created by George Teasdale’s death. The next day he explained that he was so overcome with emotion, he was unable to continue taking notes.

Was Ivins truly surprised by the call, or had he advance notice that he would be next in line to fill a vacancy? In June, Ivins mentions in his diary that he delivered his horse upon sale to his good friend Frank Hagenbarth. This alone would not cause notice, but Ivins’s two sons, Grant and Stanley, accompanied him on the journey to the Wood-Hagenbarth ranch to complete the transaction. Grant recalls: “At the April 1907 conference of the church, father was appointed to the Council of Twelve Apostles of the church, and he soon began the liquidation of his holdings in Mexico. Most of his horses were sold to the Wood-Hagenbarth Livestock Company of Salt Lake City, and they were driven to the company ranch in northern Chihuahua. Not wishing to risk Plow Boy with the other horses, father and Stanley and I led him behind the buckboard and delivered him to the ranch headquarters at Nogales. The delivery was made on Wednesday, June 12, 1907.”43 Ivins’s daughter Fulvia also remembers the date as spring, not fall, when the family received knowledge of the elder Ivins’s apostleship. Either the memories of both children are faulty, or Ivins was given advance notice that he would be released from his position in the Mexican Mission and be sustained shortly to the higher office of apostle. No other corroborating evidence has been discovered to confirm one or the other, but in the end the result was the same—Ivins left Mexico the following year and embarked on a new stage of his life of service to the church.

His close friend and cousin, Heber J. Grant, wrote in his diary years later that “[Apostle] Hyrum Smith spoke of the selection of A. W. Ivins as an Apostle & of his splendid qualifications for the position & yet one leading man did not give hearty support to the nomination of Bro. Ivins.”44 Not specifically named, the dissenting apostle was undoubtedly Reed Smoot, who was unimpressed by the choice.

Fourteen years after his appointment, Ivins received an even greater assignment. His diary makes no mention of it except as a notation across from a regular entry: “Was chosen ^second^ counselor to Prest. Grant Mch. 10th 1921, and 1st Counselor Mar 28th 1925.” Grant had been sustained as church president in 1918, following the death of Joseph F. Smith, and wanted Ivins as a counselor but worried about the political repercussions if all three in the presidency were well-known Democrats, especially in a state that was becoming increasingly Republican. Five days before choosing Ivins, Grant recorded:

[Presiding] Bishop [Charles W.] Nibley remarked that he expected me to appoint my cousin Anthony W. Ivins as my counselor, that there was no doubt in his mind that people generally would expect it, as he considered Bro. Ivins the best informed and wisest man among the Apostles and that he would be the greatest help to me as a counselor. I incidentally remarked that the Presidency would be strictly Democratic, and he said, yes, but thought that would make no difference at all in my choosing my cousin as my counselor. Personally there is no man living who would please me more to have as a counselor than my own relative. However I desire to choose whoever the Lord wishes me to and certainly do not want to make a choice because of any personal preference.45

The other member of the First Presidency at the time was Charles W. Penrose (1832-1925), with whom Grant and Ivins would address issues of importance as the church entered into its second century. One issue was the still-unresolved problem of polygamy, even after a second manifesto was issued in 1904 declaring zero tolerance and threatening excommunication for any noncompliance. But the marriages did not cease. On February 19, 1924, President Grant wrote:

Brother Ivins and I had an interview with Brother [James E.] Talmage regarding pretended plural marriages that are being performed. He wanted to know if we had any objections to civil prosecution of the people who are violating the laws of the state by entering into pretended marriages. We told him that we did not care to have the church be the instigator of prosecutions of this kind, but at the same time we would be very happy if some of the men entering into pretended plural marriages received their just rewards and were sent to jail, as we considered that they were certainly guilty of immoral conduct, to say nothing about deceiving many innocent girls by getting them to enter pretended plural marriage.46

Ivins recorded very little in his diary about this or other sensitive topics during his tenure in the LDS hierarchy. A few times he mentioned new polygamy cases that were brought before him but without discussing the details. In one instance, he recorded testimony in Spanish that he thought might offend a later reader.47 He was meticulous in recording who spoke in the stake conferences he attended, but he omitted details about the quorum and First Presidency meetings. While this represents a loss for history, it reveals his approach to confidential matters. His reputation remained that of a man who could be trusted, also as someone who was intelligent, thoughtful, and “wise.” People close to him considered him a competent counselor to President Grant. When filling a vacancy in the Twelve following the death of Orson F. Whitney in 1931, the church president canvassed other members of the quorum, requesting that each send him the names of two possible replacements. J. Reuben Clark (1871-1961) was the favorite choice of the quorum and of the president himself. But Grant hesitated because “on more than one occasion when I have almost made up my mind in favor of some individual my counselor, Brother Ivins, has named some one who pleased me better. He is out of the city today and before coming to a final decision to make a nomination I want to hear from him. In my mind, J. Reuben Clark is one of the outstanding men in the church, intellectually.”48 Evidently, Clark was not Ivins’s first choice because Joseph F. Merrill (1868-1951) was the one ultimately ordained. Two years later Clark was named as Grant’s second counselor and then replaced Ivins upon his death as first counselor.

Ivins was indispensable to Grant in other ways as well. His commitment to the office was legendary, exemplified by this statement of Grant: “President Ivins has a bad cold. Brother Clark and I tried to persuade him to go home, but he stayed on the job as usual.”49 Upon his death on September 23, 1934, Ivins was eulogized as “remarkable … courageous” (Clark), “one of a generation” (George Albert Smith), and it was said that “no man was more truly loved than he or held in higher esteem” (Governor Henry H. Blood).50 Perhaps Harold W. Bentley, born in Colonia Juárez and later an English professor at the University of Utah, said it best of all: “You can’t believe what A. W. Ivins was. … It just killed me how he is being forgotten. He was the greatest man we ever had in Utah. There is no question in my mind.”51 Hopefully the present volume will bring him to renewed recollection.


The Anthony W. Ivins Collection is housed at the Utah State Historical Society. It contains over sixty original diaries penned by Ivins and two volumes of annotations he made to his diaries, as well as twenty-two volumes of notebooks in which he jotted down important facts, statistics, and personal notes. The collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia. It was a gift to the historical society by Stanley Ivins and family in 1967.

In editing the present volume, I have chosen to include only the diaries and to reference other items as necessary. The annotations in what are referred to as the “journals” amplify the diary entries and address time periods that had been skipped, so they are also useful. Because the diaries are so small in size, I was able to include them all, along with large portions of the journals.

The ever frugal Ivins recorded his personal thoughts and daily activities in lined notebooks of the kind that were given out as promotional items by businesses. A few of them came from Heber J. Grant & Co., which is printed inside the covers, and have Hartford Fire Insurance embossed on the outside. Other notebooks came from Crimson & Nichols Assayers and Chemists, Cutler Bros. Men’s and Boys Ready-made Clothing, the Home Fire Insurance Company of Utah, and ZCMI (Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution), as well as from a few out-of-state businesses such as the A. K. Albers drug company of El Paso (“Purest Drugs Latest News”), Acorn Stoves and Ranges of Albany, and the German American Insurance Company of New York. One of the little notebooks hailed from the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company of London and Edinburgh.52

Most of the diaries range in size from tiny (2½ x 4″) to small (4 x 7″), with one that is more like a contemporary diary, the size of a standard hardback book (6 x 9″)53 Most of them are covered in a leather-like material. Some are black or a subdued blue, brown, dark green, maroon, or tan, but a few of them are brightly colored chartreuse, peach, and apple red. The diary recording Ivins’s first trip to Mexico is a lined notebook similar to a stenographer’s pad, about 4 x 7″, in a plain paper cover.54 By contrast, another notepad boasts a woman’s picture on it and has a representative’s name, “Enrique E. Bowman,” across the bottom. On the inside we discover that the sponsoring business is Regalo de The Blymyer Iron Works Co. Cincinnate, Ohio. Other information about the business is given in Spanish. Ivins re-drew the picture of the woman inside and wrote the name Diana on it. In one diary he listed his personal information: height (5’10”), weight (155), shoe size (8), hat size (7¼), shirt measurements (15″, collar 15½), hosiery [socks] (11), doctor (Clarence Snow), and hospital (LDS).

Ivins was not a particularly bad speller but was inconsistent, sometimes giving a person’s name two different ways in the same entry as “Hewish” and “Huish,” for instance. I have kept the spelling as originally recorded unless it seemed to be an impediment to understanding. When Ivins added an extra letter in a word like “other,” rendering it as “orther,” I have silently removed the redundant letter, as I also did with repeated words (“the the”). But my assumption is that people will understand simple misspellings such as “sacrement” and “villiages.” Where he occasionally misdated an entry, I noted the discrepancy, but without trying to second-guess him either. Many of the added journal sections consisted of Ivins dating the first entry, then recording subsequent days’ events immediately following without putting them under a new date. I have chosen to leave these as Ivins originally recorded them.

I have silently added a comma or period where necessary, and in some cases omitted a period (“&.”) but otherwise left the punctuation as originally recorded. Ivins frames dates, such as “24,” with a flourish consisting of a quote mark and a period beneath it, and I have included only the number. For readability, dates and abbreviations are not superscripted. I have silently capitalized days of the week and rarely the first word in a sentence. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish Ivins’s uppercase letters from his lowercase letters, such as his use of “A.M.” and “a.m.,” but I made every effort to ensure the accuracy and original intent. I combined single-sentence paragraphs with those preceding or succeeding them, based on content, again for readability.

A time-consuming aspect of preparing the diaries for publication was identifying lesser-known figures mentioned in passing in some entries, as also the names of small towns. Where he gave a surname only, it was not always possible to determine who was intended, especially in cases where two or more individuals shared the same surname, and in those instances I left the surname as written. I have done the same for towns that were sometimes spelled phonetically and were not obvious on a historical map.

I set off Ivins’s interlinear additions by carets (^) at the beginning and end of insertions. Abbreviations stand mostly unexpanded unless I thought additional clarification was needed, in which case I placed the implied letters or words in brackets. All other textual extrapolations are in brackets, and anything further in the way of definitions or historical context was placed in footnotes.

I started this project in 2007, devoting the next four years to preparing the transcript for publication. I originally transcribed the documents from photocopies provided to me by the Smith-Pettit Foundation, then (painstakingly) compared my transcription against the originals at the Utah State Historical Society reading room. I am grateful to both institutions for allowing me access and providing encouragement and support for this project. I began working on the annotation almost from the beginning, but with greater emphasis as time went on. To guarantee the accuracy of my transcription, Devery Anderson and John Hatch of Signature Books proofed it a second time against the originals at the Utah Historical Society archives. After that, additional questions were raised during the editing, composition, and proofing at Signature Books and were resolved by consulting the photocopies.

An unexpected byproduct of devoting so much time to Ivins’s personal jottings was how close I came to feel to him. I was initially intrigued by his role in the colonies in sanctioning post-manifesto plural marriages, but soon my interest was drawn to his core traits rather than his involvement in various controversies. I have come to admire and respect him and feel honored and excited to have had a part in sorting out the details of his life. I hope that some of that excitement will be shared by readers of this volume.


I wish to acknowledge the services of many who helped to bring this volume to fruition. Thanks to the Smith-Pettit Foundation and to Signature Books for giving me the opportunity and means to compile and annotate the documents produced by this special man. Thanks especially to Gary James Bergera for reading the manuscript version and offering comments and suggestions and to Ron Priddis for his invaluable copy editing. Also to Jani Fleet for her wonderful proofing of the galleys and to Jason Francis for his design and layout. Douglas Misner and his staff at the Utah State Historical Society have been gracious in the aid they rendered through my repeated visits to the society to consult the original documents. Jennifer Lund and Lavina Fielding Anderson have been sources of knowledge and support throughout this process and have been my greatest champions.

Max Martinez was a skilled, willing translator for the Spanish portions of the diaries. Thanks to him for that invaluable help. My appreciation also to Marianne Watson, Patrick Bishop, and Joseph McQuade for allowing me access to corroborating sources. My gratitude to Sheri and Allen Bostrom for their hospitality at what I called the Bostrom hotel during my visits from Wyoming to complete the transcription process. Thanks to Guy H. and Norma Ivins of American Fork for their gracious loan of family memorabilia for Guy’s grandfather. Visiting with them in their home was a wonderful experience and a highlight of my endeavor. Thank you also to Cathy Street Ivins for personally loaning photocopies and pictures that have served to augment the documentation of this book, as well as photocopies of letters that she and her family donated to the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

Most importantly, special thanks to Tom, Jeff, Rob, Bridget, Scott, James, Kellyn, and Paige. Your encouragement, both emotionally and intellectually, is what really helped me complete this project.


1. Anthony W. Ivins Diary, Oct. 7, 1907, Anthony W. Ivins Papers, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City; hereafter AWI diary; AWI Papers.

2. “Conference Is Brought to Close,” Deseret News, Oct. 7, 1907, 1.

3. President from 1876 to 1880, and again from 1884 to 1911, Jóse de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a controversial military leader, dominating Mexico’s political scene. He died in exile in Paris in 1915.

4. This family lore comes from Cathy Ivins Street, Jeffery Grant Ivins, and Randy and Elizabeth Parker, comps., A Tribute to Anthony Woodward Ivins: A Glimpse into His Life (Provo: By the compilers, 2006), 188-89.

5. Ocean County, where Toms River was located, was created in 1850. In his journal, Ivins incorrectly identified it as Monmouth. Part of Ocean County was annexed from Monmouth.

6. Ronald W. Walker, “Young ‘Tony’ Ivins: Dixie Frontiersman,” BYU Studies 40, no. 1 (2001): 105-07, 125-26n4, 127n11. Anna had a middle name, Lowrie, which is often assumed to be a maiden name, but her parents were Caleb and Edith Ivins (familysearch.org). Walker wrote succinctly that the couple “continued the tradition of marrying within the family.”

7. The children were Caroline Augusta (1845-1884), Georgiana (1846-1847), and Anthony Woodward.

8. Copy in editor’s possession.

9. Street et al., Tribute to Ivins, 67, 79-80.

10. Anthony W. Ivins to Florence Ivins, May 15, 1915, Hyde Family Papers, Utah State Historical Society.

11. Anthony W. Ivins to Florence Ivins, Sept. 21, 1916, Hyde Family Papers.

12. Herman Wells to Anthony W. Ivins, Nov. 27, 1923, AWI Papers.

13. Jedediah S. Rogers, “Anthony W. Ivins,” in Counselors to the Prophets, comp. Michael K. Winder (Roy, UT: Eborn Books, 2001), 326.

14. AWI Papers, boxes 9-11.

15. Alonzo Brinkerhoff to Anthony W. Ivins, May 15, 1918, AWI Papers. Brinkerhoff was bishop of the Emery Ward, 1896-1922. A conference of the Emery Stake had recently been held on May 11, 1918, at which Brinkerhoff must have mentioned the dream to Ivins. See AWI diary under this date.

16. Anna Lowrie Ivins Wilson, “Reminiscences 1882-1967,” 16-17, Church History Library, LDS Church, Salt Lake City.

17. Anthony W. Ivins to Mrs. A. W. Ivins, Colonia Juárez, Feb. 14, 1896, AWI Papers.

18. Anthony W. Ivins to Florence Ivins, El Paso, June 17, 1904, Hyde Family Papers.

19. Francis M. Lyman to Anthony W. Ivins, Salt Lake City, Oct. 21, 1896, AWI Papers.

20. Argus, Apr. 13, 1895, 1.

21. Anthony W. Ivins to Libbie Ivins, Salt Lake City, Feb. 12, 1894, AWI Papers.

22. The bill had to do with protecting landlords against dishonest tenants “who infest the town.”

23. Anthony W. Ivins to Libbie Ivins, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2, 1894, AWI Papers.

24. Gene A. Sessions, ed., Mormon Democrat: The Religious and Political Memoirs of James Henry Moyle (Salt Lake City: LDS Historical Department, 1975), 208.

25. “Fooling the People,” Salt Lake Herald, July 23, 1919, 4.

26. Street et al., Tribute to Ivins, 91.

27. Ibid., 90.

28. Anthony W. Ivins to F. P. Gallagher, Salt Lake City, Sept. 22, 1919, AWI Papers. Ivins signed this, “Yours with supreme contempt.”

29. See the annotation in Ivins’s diary entry for Sept. 12, 1932.

30. See Appendix B.

31. See Elizabeth Oberdick Anderson, “President or Politician? Anthony W. Ivins,” unpublished paper presented at the annual conference of the Mormon History Association, St. George, Utah, May 2011.

32. Anthony W. Ivins to Elizabeth A. S. Ivins, Oct. 25, 1890, AWI Papers.

33. George Q. Cannon to Anthony W. Ivins, Salt Lake City, Dec. 27, 1897, AWI Papers.

34. George Q. Cannon to Anthony W. Ivins, Salt Lake City, Feb. 1, 1898, AWI Papers.

35. Wilson, “Reminiscences,” 30, spelling standardized.

36. Clarence F. Turley and Anna Tenney Turley, History of the Mormon Colonies in Mexico: The Juarez Stake, 1885-1980 (Salt Lake City: By the authors, 1996), 14.

37. There are several Knell families in nearby Pinto, in both the 1900 and 1910 censuses.

38. See the AWI diary annotations for Oct. 13, 15, 1907.

39. Statement, AWI Papers, box 16, folder 7; also box 11, folder 12.

40. The Diaries of Heber J. Grant, 1880-1945, Abridged (Salt Lake City: Privately published, 2010), entries for Oct. 7, 9, 1898.

41. Anthony W. Ivins to H. Grant Ivins, Mar. 7, 1911, AWI Papers.

42. Anthony W. Ivins to an unknown “kinsman,” Dec. 17, 1929, AWI Papers; see also comments to daughter in annotation for Nov. 22, 1903, AWI diary.

43. See annotation for June 10, 1907, AWI diary.

44. See Diaries of Heber J. Grant, entry dated Feb. 26, 1910.

45. Ibid., Mar. 5, 1921.

46. Ibid., Feb. 19, 1924.

47. See annotation for Mar. 13, 1920, AWI diary.

48. Diaries of Heber J. Grant, May 21, 1931.

49. Ibid., Mar. 10, 1934.

50. See Thomas Cottam Romney, The Mormon Colonies in Mexico (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938), 137.

51. Harold W. Bentley Oral History Project, Aug. 15, 1978, 19, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo.

52. Others were from Cowgill & McWilliam Live Stock Commission, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Indian Service.

53. 6″ x 8 7/8″ to be exact.

54. 3 7/8″ x 7″.

Chapter 5
Colonia Juárez

[October 9, 1895; Wednesday]1 I was set apart to preside over the Mexican Mission as follows: [“]Blessing. Pronounced upon the head of Elder Anthony W. Ivins. On his being set apart to preside over the Mexican Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, Presidents Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, and Apostles F[rancis] M. Lyman, George Teasdale and H[eber] J. Grant laid their hands upon him, and President Cannon was the mouthpiece.[”]2

Anthony W. Ivins: Beloved Brother, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and in the authority of the Holy Priesthood and Apostleship which He has bestowed upon us, we lay our hands upon thy head to set the[e] apart as the president of the Mexican Mission, and also to implore God, our Eternal Father, to fill thee with every gift and grace necessary to fully qualify thee for this high and responsible calling and position.

Our Heavenly Father, we approach Thee, and desire to do so in the utmost humility. We know that our words, unless inspired by Thee, and accompanied by the Holy Spirit, are of little avail for any purpose, more especially in a case like this. We know that they are useless to comfort, or to strengthen, or to bless. Therefore, we present ourselves before Thee, and ask Thee, in the name of Jesus, to fill us with the Holy Spirit and with the power and gifts, and qualifications of our callings. And we ask Thee, Father, to fill this Thy servant, from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, with that light, and intelligence, and knowledge and wisdom which he shall require. Inasmuch as he will be called upon to act in many difficult cases, and under many difficult circumstances, in a foreign land, dealing with a foreign people, and watching over the interests of Thy people, and Thy Church, we desire, Our Father, that thou wilt be especially with him, and that Thou wilt give him revelation from on high, and every gift that belongs to the Holy Priesthood, that he has received. And Thy name Father, shall have the honor and glory.

And we say unto thee, Brother Anthony, go forth trusting in the Lord, and thou shalt lack for nothing. Thou shalt not lack for wisdom, and for knowledge, and revelation and decision. Thou shalt not lack for counsel when thou art asked by the people of God for it. Thou shalt know the very moment that it is needed that which thou shalt say to the people, and in speaking, that which thou shalt speak to them in instructing them, and when difficulties shall arise the path shall be made plain before thee to point out to the people, so as to avoid all difficulty and all collisions of every kind. And thou shalt know for thyself concerning these matters. It shall be clear to thee. For the Lord will be with thee, and His angels shall have charge concerning thee, and they will watch over thee, and preserve thee. And thou shalt not lack for anything in thy office and calling that the Lord bestows through His Holy Spirit. Thou shalt lack for nothing either of a temporal nature. The Lord will open thy way, and He will give thee means, and will supply thy wants, and give thee favor in the eyes of the people, and put means in thy possession, with which thou wilt be able to accomplish a great work.

Do not allow thy heart to go out after the things of the world, and in all thy dealings with thy fellow men, be kind and liberal, and do not be exacting, nor seek in any manner to profit by the advantages that thou possesseth as a leading man in Israel, and as a man blessed of God. And we say unto thee, thou shalt be blessed in thy family, and thou shalt have health, that when thou shalt lay hands on thy family, if they are sick, they shall be healed. And the people shall be blessed by the administration of this ordinance at thy hands, and the hands of thy counselors.

We pray God to inspire thee in the selection of thy counselors, that thou mayest choose the very men whom the Lord desires, and whom the Lord will sustain and bless with thee.3 These blessings, with every other blessing necessary for your complete and perfect fulfillment of this mission and of the duties thereof, we seal upon thee, and set the[e] apart to this, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and in the authority that we have received from Him. Amen.

Salt Lake City Utah
October 9 1895.

I returned from Salt Lake to St. George to perfect arrangements for my departure to Mexico. On Monday night, Nov. 18th 1895 a party was given in my honor at the Social or Gardners Club Hall. Both that and the New Hall nearby were crowded with people and [in] the course many kind words were said and acts of kindness shown me. My mother, who was 79 years old on the 16th inst was also the recipiant of many compliments. I left home for Salt Lake on the 22nd inst. And arrived there without incident or accident on Monday the 25.

I ate Thanksgiving dinner on the 28 with my wifes sister Georgie4 and at 7. p.m. took train for Demming New Mexico, my port of entry into Mexico, where I arrived on Sunday the 31st5 of December. Apostle Francis M. Lyman was at Demming. I also met E[rnest] L. Taylor6 of Colonia Juarez and Bishop Frank Scott7 and James Ray8 of Colonia Oaxaca.9 In the afternoon a meeting was held at the house occupied by Bro. Taylor at which 39 person[s] were present. Bro. Lyman presented my name to these people and they voted una[ni]mously to sustain me as president of the Mexican Mission.10 Edward Stevenson11 was with Apostle Lyman. After the Sacrement had been administered Bro. Stevenson spoke & was followed by Bro. Lyman. I made a few remarks and Bro. Taylor and others bore testimony.

Monday Bro. Lyman and I took Bro. Taylors team and drove from Demming to Palomas, the Mexican Custom House. We stayed with Albert [?]12 who entertained us with generous hospitality.

Tuesday the 3rd we drove from Palomas to Colonia Diaz a distance of 65 miles. Were kindly entertained by W[illiam] D. Johnson, the bishop’s father.13 Here I met my old friend Ammon M. Tenney, whom I had not seen for many years. We rested at Diaz on the 4 and on the 5th Bro. Tenney drove us to Dublan,14 a distance of 55 miles.

On the 6th a meeting was held at Dublan at 10-a.m. and 2. p.m. and a priesthood meeting was held between these meetings. The ward authorities and general authorities of the Church were presented and sustained at the (evening) afternoon meeting.

We drove to Colonia Juarez on Sat. the 7th. A party was given in the evening to Apostle George Teasdale in honor of his 64th birthday. I am staying at Bro. Jos[eph] C. Bentleys,15 with my sister Maggie.16 Sunday morning I went to Bro. H[enry] Eyring’s where I met Apostles Lyman & Teasdale and Prest. Stevenson, who had come with us from Demming. We decided to select Henry Eyring and Helaman Pratt to act as my Counselors and to organize the mission into the Juarez Stake of Zion. Attended Sunday School17 & after it adjourned again met in council Bros. Eyring & Pratt being with us. In the afternoon a conference meeting was held at which the General, Stake, and Ward authorities were presented. The Juarez Stake of Zion was now fully organized.18 Monday Dec. 9th 1895 I signed a Temple Recommend for Nancy A. Humphry, my first official act.19 On Tuesday Bro. Isaac Turley20 drove us to Colonia Pacheco21 where we held an evening meeting. After the general meeting had been dismissed we met with the Priesthood to discuss ward interests with the result that Jessie N. Smith22 was released from the bishoprick of the ward, and George W. Hardy23 selected to fill the vacancy thus created.

[December 11, 1895; Wednesday] I slept at Bro. Henry Lunts last night in the same bed with Apostle [Francis M.] Lyman. I dreamed that I was at a meeting where Apostle Lyman was talking and that in the course of his remarks he said that I had been called by the Lord to preside over the Mexican Mission and that I would in the future be called to the Apostleship and that it would be my special duty to labor among the people of Arizona and Mexico.24 George W. Hardy was ordained a High Priest and Bishop by Apostle Lyman. I ordained O[sbourne] B. Cooley a High Priest and set him apart to be first counselor to Bp. Hardy.

Bro. Henry Lunt and his family have entertained us very kindly since we have been here. Their surroundings are very humble compared with what they were at Cedar City in Utah where I was well acquainted with them. In the evening we drove to Caves Valley.25 Stayed with Bro Hancock. Bro. Robert Vance26 joined us here, and early the following morning we started for Oaxaca. We drove 40 miles and camped on the San Pedro River.

[December 13, 1895; Friday] We drove 20 miles to Beresford’s Ranch at Ojitos. At this point we met Bros. [Henry] Eyring and [Helaman] Pratt who had come from Colonia Juarez to join us. Bro. James Ray was also at Ojitos having come over from Oaxaca to meet us. After lunch we drove 8 miles to Panuelos, and from there 12 miles to Las Varas where we camped.

[December 14, 1895; Saturday] We drove 20 miles over a rough road to Oaxaca. Bro. [Francis M.] Lyman and I were entertained by John C. Naegle27 and family.

The tract of land where Oaxaca is located is on the Bavispe River, in the State of Sonora. It was bought by George C. Williams28 and John C. Naegle from General Juan Fenochio and Colonel Emilio Kosterlitzky,29 of the Mexican Army. They had agreed to pay $35,000.00for the tract, about 1,000,000 acres, and had paid about one half of this amount. Other payments were now due and no money was available to meet them. Under the contract with Fenochio30 & Kosterlitzky if any of the payments were not made when due the land was to revert back to the original owners together with all improvements which might be on it.

It is a very broken tract of land with but little a[v]ailable farming land and only fair grazing. Williams had expected to get money from settlers to pay for the land but the people had exhausted their resources and had no money with which to make payments. He had then appealed to the Church claiming that Apostle [George] Teasdale had promised him support. This Bro. Teasdale denied, stating that the purchase was purely a private undertaking. We found Williams feeling very bitter toward the Church and people in general.

[December 15, 1895; Sunday] On our way to meeting, we called at Bro. [George] William’s and invited him to go with us but he refused to do so. We held meeting, and by invitation took supper with Bro. Williams. He recounted his grievences against the Church and individuals. Manifested a strong dislike for Apostle [George] Teasdale and John C. Naegle. His complaint against the brethren was that they had not kept their agreements with him regarding the purchase of the land, and against the Church that it fellowshipped murderers. This he undertook to maintain because he said persons who were connected with the Mountain Meadows Massacre were held in fellowship by the Church. He claimed to have had some relatives killed at the Mountain Meadows. We tried in vain to show him that he was in error, [but] he persisted in his determination to withdraw from the Church. On Monday we visited him again and renewed our efforts to reconcile him but to no effect, he was obstinate and leaving us went off into the mountains prospecting.

[December 17, 1895; Tuesday] We held meeting. Alvin D. Nelson was ordained an Elder, F[rancis] M. Lyman mouth. Geo. W. Scott ordained an Elder I being mouth and Wilford B. Nelson ordained an Elder[,] H[enry] Eyring mouth. In the afternoon Geo. C. Williams was excommunicated from the Church for apostasy.

[December 18, 1895; Wednesday] [W]e started from Oaxaca for Colonia Diaz where we arrived on the 20th. We were tendered a social party in the evening at the school house.

We were pained to learn that Sister [Mary] Teasdale,31 wife of Apostle [George] Teasdale who was sick when we left Colonia Juarez[,] had died. We held meetings at Diaz Saturday & Sunday. W[illiam] D. Johnson Jr.32 was sustained as bishop with Jos[eph] James33 and Cha[rle]s Richens34 as Counselors. Ja[me]s A. Little35 and W. D. Johnson were ordained Patriarchs by Apostle [Francis M.] Lyman.

We, Bros. Lyman, Stevenson & I left Diaz Monday morning, the 23rd for Demming, Bro Henry Martineau36 taking us. On the road I had a remarkable experience. We were feeding our team at noon, a span of large horses which were tied behind the wagon. I went in between the horses to tie down the wagon cover when one of them turned and kicked me with both feet, s[t]riking me in the stomach. I was turned completely round and struck the ground 12 feet from where I stood when he kicked. I rem[em]ber thinking that the kick would kill me, but when I struck the ground I drew a long breath and found that I was in no pain. The horses hoofs, which were heavily shod, struck my watch and pocketbook. The watch was broken but I suffered no injury.

We ate Christmas dinner on the road and reached Demming in the evening the 25th. I expected to meet my teams, which I had sent overland in charge of Albert Clark and my brother Will37 at Demming about this time but they were not yet there. I waited several days and as the teams did not arrive, went to El Paso where I remained till Jany 2nd when I returned to Demming and found my teams there.

I sent my teams out to Columbus [New Mexico], on the north side of the line [international border], near the Palomas Custom House,38 on the 7[,] I remaining at Demming for word from Mexico regarding authority to pass the Custom House, which had not yet been received. On the 8 I recd. a telegram from D[aniel] W. Ap39 Jones, our agent in Mexico, saying that the Custom House had been instructed to pass me under bond. In the evening the following telegram was handed to me:

Salt Lake Utah 8.

Anthony W. Ivins

Mother failing. You have liberty to return, half fare transportation arranged. See Agent Simons.

W[ilford] Woodruff.

I went to the telegraph office to send a dispatch but the office was closed. Thursday morning, as soon as the office was open I sent the following telegram.

Demming Jany. 9 1896.

Heber J. Grant
Salt Lake, Utah

Is mothers condition critical. Important matters need attention here. Shall I come now. Will be governed by your answer.

A[nthony] W. Ivins

At 2. p.m. I recd the following:

Salt Lake, Jany 9. 1896

A. W. Ivins

Mothers condition critical. Libbie40 telegraphs come immediately. I say come.

H. J. Grant

I at once hitched up my team and taking Sam Legg, a man who was here on his way to the colonies, with me, drove out to Columbus where Albert Clark had gone with my teams. I arranged with Legg to take care of the teams until I could go to Utah and return and drove back to Demming where I arrived just at day light on the 10th.

This morning I recd. the following: telegram:

Salt Lake Jany 10 1896

A. W. Ivins

Your mother just about as bad as she can be. ^Libbie telegraphs^ take first train.

H. J. Grant

I answered as follows:

Deming Jany. 10 1896

Heber J. Grant.
Salt Lake, Utah.

I take eleven o’clock train. First since yesterdays train.

A. W. Ivins.

Saturday the 11th I reached Pueblo at noon and wired as follows:

Pueblo Jany. 11 1896.

Heber J. Grant
Salt Lake, Utah.

How is mother. Answer Colorado Springs.

A. W. Ivins

At Colorado Springs I learned that there would be no train over the Colorado Midland, over which I had paid passage, until tomorrow at eleven o’clock. Not wishing to be delayed I bought a ticket over the Denver & Rio Grande and left at 10-35 p.m. Recd. no answer to my telegram. At Grand Junction I wired as follows.

Grand Junction Jan. 12 1896

Heber J. Grant
Salt Lake, Utah.

Will arrive at 11-35. How is Mother. Yesterdays telegram not answered.

A. W. Ivins

I met Will Sharp, a fellow member of the Constitutional Convention on the train this morning. Shortly after sending the above telegram he handed me a Salt Lake Tribune in which I read the following: News was received here yesterday of the death, at St. George Utah, of Mrs. Anna L. Ivins, wife of Dr. Israel Ivins, and mother of Hon. A. W. Ivins who will reach here tomorrow from Mexico and will proceed to St George at once.41 A little later the Conductor handed me the following telegram:

Salt Lake Jany. 12 1896.

A. W. Ivins
℅ Conductor R.G.W. Price.

Your mother is rejoicing with Caddie.42 Her reward will be a glorious one. God bless and comfort you. Lovingly


I reached Salt Lake at 11-40 p.m. and the following morning my cousin Heber & I took train for Milford. We reached Milford at 8 o’clock and drove on to Minersville to breakfast the following morning, and on to Cedar [City] for supper. Bro. Uriah Jones43 had sent a team to Milford for us and furnished a fresh team to take us on to Belleview where we were met by E. M. Brown who drove us on to St George where we arrived at 7. a.m. Jany. 15 1896.

My mothers funeral was held at the Tabernacle today. The attendance was large. Geo. Woodward, Jas. G. Bleak, D[avid] H. Cannon, D[aniel] D. McArthur & Heber J. Grant were the speakers.

The remarks of each speaker were highly complimentary to the life and character of my mother. She was president of the first Female Relief Society organized in St. George and later was Stake President of the Relief Society. She had been a worker in the St. George Temple since it opened for ordinance work and was greatly loved by her associates in these different labors.

She was a woman of remarkable character, kind, charitable, slow to anger and never speaking evil of anyone. She had lived in plurality of wives, under very trying circumstances, but I never heard a word of complaint, never heard her speak an unkind word to a man woman or child, she loved mankind, and all who were acquainted with her loved her.

I remained at St. George until Monday Jany. 20 when Heber and I started back to Salt Lake. We held meetings at Leeds, Toquerville and Cedar [City] and reach[ed] Salt Lake the evening of the 23. I remained at the latter place until Sunday evening, the 26 when I took train for Demning where I arrived on the 29th. I drove out to Columbus on the 30 and found my teams all right. After some delay I passed the Custom House and went on to Colonia Juarez arriving there on Monday Feby. 10th.

I purchased the house in Juarez built by Erastus Snow, and which had been occupied by Apostle [George] Teasdale. I arranged with Bro. Miles P. Romney44 to make some changes, adding three rooms and a kitchen, and at once commenced preparations for my family when they should come down.

I had brought two thoroughbred mares with me from St. George[:] Pearl Livingston and Minnehaha. These mares had both been bred to my stallion Roydan before leaving home and I valued very highly the colts which I expected them to have.45

[February 16, 1896; Sunday]46 Attended Sabbath school in the forenoon and meeting of Spanish class immediately [after and] at both spoke, latter in Spanish. 2- p.m. attended general meeting.

[February 21, 1896; Friday] Pearl had a filly foal last night. High Council met 2 p.m. – Good feeling. I outlined my policy which was endorsed by all the brethren. Ordained Orson P. Brown47 a High Priest and set him apart to be a member of the High Council.

[February 22, 1896; Saturday] Conference. Good spirit and good instruction. Evening met Bp. [George] Hardy & counselors to counsel abt saw mill. Could not advise them to buy mill but were willing if they desired.

[February 23, 1896; Sunday] Conference today. M[iles] P. Romney, I, H[elaman] Pratt spoke in forenoon. A[lexander] F. Macdonald, Bro [Henry] Eyring & I afternoon. Evening High Priests met.

[February 24, 1896; Monday] Met with the Y.L.M.I.A.48 in the morning & R[elief] Society in the afternoon. Theatre evening Rough Diamond.49 ^sule Wulers Rim Dup^50

[February 25, 1896; Tuesday] Minnie had a filly foal last night.

[February 26, 1896; Wednesday] Wrote to Col. [Emilio] Kosterlit[z]ky and Genl [Juan] Fenochio telling them that I would be at Magdelena on Mch 20th to consider the Oaxaca question.51

Recd. letters from my wife and son, Jos[eph] C. Bentley, and Col Kosterlitsky. The latter requested me to go at once to Magdelena. I cannot go before the date set. Croff, Hall, Petersen & Jarvis[:] see letter to them.

[February 28, 1896; Friday] This morning I started in company with Bro. A[lexander] F. Macdonald to visit the people who [are settling in the Sierra Madre Mountains].52 We reached Colonia Garcia at 5 o’clock in the evening. Colonia Garcia is 8 miles S. from Colonia Pacheco, considerable higher and is pleasantly situated in the top of the Sierra Madre, in an open park surrounded with timber. Crops of oats & corn have been produced here and the people are preparing to plant more extensively the present year. We had a meeting at the home of Bro. [John T.] Whetton.53 A saw mill is now being put in here.

[February 29, 1896; Saturday] Bro. [Alexander] Macdonald & I traveled from Colonia Garcia to Colonia Mariano (Chuichupa)54 a distance of 36 miles South. We reached the latter place at 7. p.m. On the road we passed Montezuma Valley. Describe country.55 I killed a fine turkey gobbler.

[March 1, 1896; Sunday] We held meeting at Colonia Mariano. S[unday] S[chool] in the morning meeting at 2 p.m. and evening. Bro. [Alexander F.] Mac[Donald] & I preached in the afternoon. In the evening Henry S. Christiansen was ordained an Elder and set apart to preside over the Deacons. I mouth. David B. Brown set apart to act as a teacher. The people had just finished a school & meeting house last night and today was the first meeting held in it.

[March 2, 1896; Monday] Bro. [Alexander] Macdonald & I drove from Mariano to Garcia 36 miles & held meeting in the evening. Before meeting the whole community set down to supper at one table at Bro. John T. Whetton. At the meeting the Sacrament was administered & instruction given by me & Bro. Mac[Donald]. (Good spirit.)

[March 3, 1896; Tuesday] This morning I visited Bro. Farnsworth and talked with him in regard to the difficulty existing between him & his brother.56 The saw mill case. Bro. F. said he was willing to take the decision of the High Council & abide by them as final.

Wednesday 4th We drove from Garcia to Hop Valley (Colonia Morelos).57 I find a large body of good land here which might be cultivated. After taking lunch at the Co[mpany] ranch house we drove to Pacheco & held meeting in the evening.

[March 4, 1896; Wednesday] I left Pacheco at 8-15. Drove as far as Strawberry Valley at Bro. [Alma P.] Spillsburys ranch house.58 Here I left the road and drove up strawberry valley about 2 miles to the forks of the canyon. Tied my team & walked up the right hand fork of the canyon with my gun. Started two deer, shot at one but did not kill it. A little further up the canyon I saw a great many turkey tracks. Just here I started two more deer both of which I killed. Went up to my buckboard & brought it up and loaded on the deer and drove to Juarez by 7 p.m. Recd. letters from my wife[,] Anna,59 Mr. Ap Jones[,] [and] Thos. Gardner.

At Pacheco this morning a letter was handed me which upon opening I found to be as follows.

Dear and beloved brother President Ivins.

Thou are a man of God and one of the Great Spirits that God sends upon this earth to do a great and mighty work, and God has blessed you with great wisdom and power in the Holy Priesthood and may peace and gladness go with you even unto the end. O may Gods blessing richly on you de[s]cend is the prayer of your humble servant.

Nils O. Nilson

Bro. Nilson is a Dane who has just come from San Pete [Valley, Utah,] to the colonies.60

[March 13, 1896; Friday] Bro. [George] Sevy61 came to me this morning & asked me to go by way of Galeana to the railroad.62 Offered to go with me and bring the team back if I would do so. I consented. We drove down to Bro. [Miles P.] Romneys farm, above Casas Grandes, & took dinner with Sister Romney. Went to Casas Grandes & called on Mr. Portio who was in bed sick. Called at P[ost] O[ffice] where I recd. a letter from Mr. Ap Jones also list of premiums awarded at the fair.

Drove over to Dublan where a meeting was held to hear the report of J[oseph] C. Bentley in regard to the Dublan lands & the exposition.

[March 14, 1896; Saturday] This morning before starting for Galeana I married John Aylette Jacobson & Boletta Anderson.63 Drove to Galeana where we passed the night with bro. Franklin Spencer. Not favorably impressed with the quality of the land or prospects of water. Bros. [George] Lake and [Charles] Foster came over with us and brought over bro. A[ndrew] J. Stewart.

[March 15, 1896; Sunday] Bro. [George] Sevy did not feel well this morning but we drove on and camped at night on the Santa Maria River 35 miles from Galeana. 20 miles out from the latter place we passed the Nariz Ranch.

[March 16, 1896; Monday] Bro. [George] Sevy passed a bad night and ate nothing at all during the day. From the Santa Maria we traveled 12 miles to Burro wells, 13 to Cottonwood Spring, 15 to Carisal [Carrizal], 11 to A[h]umada. Bro. Sevy was very sick when we left reached the latter place. I gave him 6 gr[ain]s of quinine & some cathartic pills at bed time.64

[March 17, 1896; Tueday] Bro. [George] Sevy seemed no better this morning. I wired O[rson] P. Brown at Deming that Bro. Sevy was sick & to met us tomorrow at El Paso on arrival of morning train.

It was my intention ^unless Bro. Sevy was better^ to take him with me tomorrow & leave him at the hospital at El Paso. During the day I met Bro. Matthews (Cha[rle]s) from Diaz who was at Ahumada65 for wire for Mr. Nunsford. He told me that Bro. [blank] Adams of Diaz was living at Ahumada with his family, was there at El Paso but would be back on the evening train. I arranged with Matthews to bring bro. Adams to our room at Burn’s & Daley’s [hotel] as soon as the train arrived. He did so. I consecrated a bottle of oil and we anointed & blessed bro Sevy & I arranged with Bro. Adams to attend to Bro. Sevy & if his symptoms were not better tomorrow to take him to El Paso which he promised to do. He seemed better tonight. Ate & did not want to go to hospital. I left 30.00 for expenses.

[March 18, 1896; Wednesday] Went from Ahumada to El Paso. Bro. Farnsworth (Albert) went up on train. Bro. [Orson] Brown met me at station C[iudad] Juarez. Went over to El Paso [and] from there to Deming.

[March 19,1896; Thursday] Bro [Orson] Brown & I started for Magdelena Sonora on the S[outhern] P[acific] 12-o’clock train. Reached Benson 6 o’clock, Nogales 11 and Magdelena at 2 a.m.

[March 20, 1896; Friday] Met Col. [Emilio] Kosterlitzky this morning, Bros. [John] Naegle, [Franklin] Scott, & [Peter] Dillman66 were also present having come from the Colony to meet me. Discussed Colony affairs. Wired Gen. [Juan] Fenochio.

[March 21, 1896; Saturday] Waited for [Juan] Fenochio. He wired [Emilio] Kosterlitzky that he would go to Hermosilla67 tonight & we arranged to take train with him for that place. The Col. [Emilio Kosterlitzky] presented us his photo & a fine Rieta.68

[March 22, 1896; Sunday] At 2 o’clock this A.M. Bros. [John] Naegle, [Franklin] Scott, [Peter] Dillman, [Orson] Brown Col. [Emilio] Kosterlitzky & I took train for Hermosilla. Gen. [Juan] Fenochio was aboard. We reached Hermosilla at 10 a.m. After dinner we met Genl. Fenochio and had a preliminary talk with him. I proposed that he & the Col. accept $8,000.00 cash & retain a sufficient interest in the Horcones ranch69 to am[oun]t to the balance due there. I found that G[eorge] C. Williams has agreed to pay $35[,]000.00 for the Horcones ranch 1/3 down and the balance in two yearly payments. $17[,]500.00 [has] been paid, $6,000.00 by J. C. Naegle and the balance by Williams. I proposed to pay $8,000.00 cash on the balance due and give them the bal in land, they to make a deed for the whole purchase direct to the Mexican Col. & Agr. Co. The Genl. seemed disposed to accept my proposition but desired first to see his lawyer. We separated to meet tomorrow Hermosilla, Hotel Hostess.

[March 23, 1896; Monday] We met Genl. [Juan] Fenochio and his atty. at 10 a.m. The atty. insisted that nothing could be done without the sanction of G[eorge] C. Williams in person or by proxy. Bro. [Peter] Dillman had a power of attorney which he supposed was sufficient to authorize him to act but the lawyer said it wasn’t. W[h]en it was found that the matter could not be adjusted I concluded to start back at once and arranged to be at Hermosilla again abt. May 1st when Bro. Dillman was to be present with a good power of atty.

Bros. [John] Naegle, [Franklin] Scott, [Orson] Brown & I started back at 4 p.m. the two former remaining at Magdelena. Bro. Brown & I coming on to Deming where we arrived Tuesday ^Mch 24^ at 6 p.m.

[March 26, 1896; Thursday] I took train for Salt Lake at 11 a.m. via A[tchison], T[opeka], & S[anta] F[e] & Col[orado] Midland, & R[io] G[rande] r[ail] r[oads].70

[March 29, 1896; Sunday] Reached Salt Lake at 12. M. Upon my arrival at Salt Lake I met Mr. Preston Nutter71 with whom I entered into negotiations for the sale of the Mohave ranch and cattle. I finally consummated a sale the conditions being that Nutter pay me $15.00 pr head for all the cattle and horses belonging to the Co[mpany]. Calves of 1896 not [to be] counted. Nutter pd. me $4000.00 advance[,] the balance to be paid on delivery of cattle.

[April 4-6, 1896; Saturday-Monday] I attended general conference meetings. The special feature of the conference was the declaration of the church authorities setting forth their attitude on political matters72 and the omission of the name of Moses Thatcher from the list of apostles when the general church authorities were presented.73

[April 7, 1896; Tuesday] Attended priesthood meeting after which I met with the presidency and Apostles [Franklin D.] Richards, [Francis M.] Lyman, [Brigham] Young [Jr.], and [Heber J.] Grant for the consideration of Mexican matters. My written report was read both as to the general condition and needs of the mission and also the condition of the Oaxaca purchase. Prest. [George Q.] Cannon asked how many much money was needed to secure the Casas Grandes lands. I answered $25[,]000.00 Am. gold. Prest. Cannon moved that the Church raise one half of that amount and ask the brethren to raise the balance. Carried unanimously. The Oaxaca question was next taken up. It was decided that the balance due on the land be paid and on motion of Apostle Lyman it was decided that the church furnish sufficient funds to pay the balance due on the land as well as for stamps for the deed. I was instructed to make the best adjustment possible of the business paying a part down and the bal. in defered payments.

[April 9, 1896; Thursday] Took train this evening for St. George. I reached Milford [Utah] Friday morning & took stage for home where I arrived on Saturday, Apr. 11th [and] found family well.

[April 12, 1896; Sunday] Attended meeting & spoke also attended the funeral of Bro. Isaiah Cox74 who had died the day before from the effect of an accident crushed by the overturning of a load of hay by which his leg was broken.

[April 15, 1896; Wednesday] After a pleasant visit with my family & friends I started for Salt Lake & Mexico this morning with R[obert] C. Lund.75 While at home I sold my home to Thos. H. Gardner the terms being $2,500.00, $1000.00 to be paid at time of delivery of property and the balance in two notes of $750.00 each to be paid in one & two years with ten percent pr. annum interest. Wednesday we traveled to Cedar [City], Thursday to Milford & took evening train for Salt Lake where we arrived Friday morning.76

[April 17, 1896; Friday] I visited the Presidents office today and was instructed to draw drafts on Wilford Woodruff for the money voted to buy Casas Grandes lands & to adjust the Oaxaca purchase.

[April 18, 1896; Saturday] I went to Saltair77 today with a party given by Geo. Q. Cannon in honor of a party of R[ail] R[oad] men from St. Louis. I took George [Cannon] & Mann Woolley with me. Took train at 7. p.m. for El Paso via U[nion] P[acific].

[April 19, 1896; Sunday] Reached La Junta78 abt midnight.

[April 20, 1896; Monday] The South bound train was late did not leave La Junta till 10-20 a.m. before reaching Trinidad we were delayed about five hours by a bridge which had been burned. After the bridge was fixed we went on reaching El Paso Texas at noon.

[April 21, 1896; Tuesday] Minister [Fernandez] Leal.79 I put up at the Grand Central Hotel.

[This chapter continues through December 30, 1897, equivalent to another 50 printed pages in the book.]


1. I will continue for a few pages with scrapbook-like transcripts of documents and correspondence that Ivins copied into his journal in place of the missing diary pages to February 16, 1896, from the Anthony W. Ivins Journals, 2 vols., Sept. 16, 1852-­
Jan. 15, 1897, AWI Papers, 1:233-44; hereafter AWI Journal.

2. Wilford Woodruff (1807-98) was fourth president of the LDS Church, serving from 1889 until his death. During his tenure, he dedicated the Salt Lake City and Manti temples and issued the 1890 Manifesto. George Q. Cannon (1827-1901) was his first counselor and had served as a counselor to Brigham Young and John Taylor. Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918), nephew of Joseph Smith, was second counselor. He had also served with Young and Taylor and would become sixth president of the church in 1901.

3. Ivins chose as his counselors Henry Eyring and Helaman Pratt. Eyring was born in Germany, immigrated to the U.S. at age eighteen, and converted to Mormonism in St. Louis. Brigham Young sent him to St. George, then to the Mexican mission in 1887. When Ivins was appointed mission president, Eyring became his first counselor. Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Company, 1901-36), vol. 1, online at GospeLink: Digital Library by Deseret Book, gospelink.com. Eyring would remain in Mexico the rest of his life and die in Colonia Juárez at the age of sixty-six.

4. Georgiana Snow (1862-1929), Ivins’s sister-in-law, was a plural wife of Apostle Moses Thatcher.

5. Ivins means the 1st of December.

6. Ernest L. Taylor (1852-1917) was born in San Bernardino, California. He was imprisoned in Yuma for polygamy, and when released moved his plural wife and children to Juárez where he became a shop keeper, cattleman, and a counselor in the bishopric. Harold W. Taylor, “Ernest Leander Taylor,” online at Family Search, familysearch.org.

7. Franklin Scott (1851-1901) was born in Salt Lake City and died in Colonia Oaxaca when struck by lightning at age forty-nine. He had two wives and twenty children. Walter Scott, “Brief Sketch of the Life of Franklin Scott,” familysearch.org.

8. James Wilford Ray (1861-1920) was born in Salt Lake City and died in Phoenix. He had two wives, sisters Elsie and Maria Mortensen, and twenty-three children. Frank Elsberry, “James Wilford Ray Sr.,” www.findagrave.com.

9. While Ivins was managing his herds and running for office in Utah, refugees (polygamists) were arriving in Mexico beginning in 1885 to sites that Alexander McDonald and other leaders had found favorable. Under church supervision, McDonald and Apostle Moses Thatcher formed the Mexican Colonization and Agricultural Company to assist church members in getting started south of the border. Meanwhile, church agents were purchasing tracts of land. Colonia Juárez was along the Piedras Verdes River near Casas Grandes, an area Ivins had visited in 1876, and Colonia Oaxaca on the Bavispe River in Sonora. Thomas Cottam Romney, The Mormon Colonies in Mexico (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1938), 55-67, 85-86, 115-18.

10. In 1889 the church closed the mission headquarters in Mexico City, where Henry Eyring had worked unsuccessfully to maintain a proselytizing effort despite a lack of funds and growing interference from U.S. officials, as well as the fact that the Mexican converts wanted to move to the colonies. Ivins came to preside over a mission in exile, in a rural environment, with a goal to leave their neighbors alone rather than to convert them. But in five years, the mission would reopen in Mexico City for the benefit of Mexicans rather than for American expatriates. F. Lamond Tullis, Mormons in Mexico (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1987), 63-64, 70-71, 73-84.

11. Edward Stevenson (1820-97) was one of seven presidents of the Seventy. He had seven wives. In 1870 he was sent on a successful special assignment to the Midwest to bring Martin Harris, one of the original leaders of the church, to Utah.

12. The surname is obscured because Ivins wrote over the last few letters.

13. Colonia Díaz was the first Mormon colony in Mexico, founded on the Casas Grandes River in 1885. The first house was that of Bishop Johnson. Romney, Mormon Colonies, 74-77.

14. Founded in 1888, Colonia Dublán got a late start but was soon the largest of the colonies. Like Díaz, it was established next to the Casas Grandes River.

15. In a few months, Joseph C. Bentley (1859-1942) would become bishop of Colonia Juárez, and would later become president of the Juárez Stake. He was held captive by Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution. Bryan Wilson, “Saints amid War: Mormon Colonies during the Mexican Revolution,” online at It Runs in My Family blog. See also Joseph T. Bentley’s tribute to his father, Life and Letters of Joseph C. Bentley: A Biography (Provo: By the author, 1977).

16. Margaret McKean Ivins (1868-1928), daughter of Israel Ivins and second wife, Julia Hill, was born in St. George and died in Colonia Juárez. She was a cousin of Theodore McKean (Anthony’s brother-in-law) as an Ivins, not as a McKean, despite her middle name. She married Joseph C. Bentley in June 1886 in St. George.

17. Sunday school became popular in the church after it was organized by a private individual in Salt Lake City in 1849. Initially the schools functioned independently, but were eventually consolidated into a church-wide Deseret Sunday School Union, the Juvenile Instructor being its official organ.

18. For a complete list of the Juárez Stake officers, see Romney, Mormon Colonies, 139-40. The organization of the Juarez Stake is recorded in Bentley, Life and Letters of Joseph C. Bentley, 89-97.

19. FamilySearch.org lists a Nancy Elmina Humprey who married in Colonia Juárez on Dec. 6, 1895.

20. Isaac Turley (1837-1908) was born in Canada. His father was a Methodist minister prior to converting to Mormonism. After helping found Snowflake, Arizona, he and his two wives found reason to move to Colonia Juárez, where for a time he was the presiding church officer. Isaac Turley Jr., “A Brief Life History of Isaac Turley,” online at Sharing Our Links to the Past, www.geocities.com/~wallyg/M15h.htm.

21. Colonia Pacheco was founded in 1887 at about 7,000 feet in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Romney, Mormon Colonies, 108-10.

22. Jesse N. Smith (1834-1906) was a first cousin of church founder Joseph Smith. He was one of the pioneers who settled Snowflake, Arizona, and was involved in buying land for colonization in Mexico. He had five wives and forty-four children and died in Snowflake. Joseph W. Smith, “Jesse Nathaniel Smith,” online courtesy of Wally and Frances Gray, Sharing Our Links to the Past, www.geocities.com.

23. George W. Hardy (1863-1921), a blacksmith, was “a friend of President Anthony W. Ivins, both in St. George and later in Mexico.” He was a popular square-dance caller. Georgiana Hardy Puckett, “George William Hardy,” FamilySearch, familysearch.org

24. Ivins would be called as an apostle in October 1907.

25. The Cave Valley settlement was named for the nearby caverns that once housed prehistoric humans. Ivins and others were drawn to the high-altitude grazing and timber possibilities and established this as a satellite colony for Juárez in 1887. Romney, Mormon Colonies, 103-08.

26. Robert Elijah Vance (1854-1927) was born in Alabama and died in Mexico.

27. John Conrad Naegle (1825-99), born in Bavaria, held the distinction of having been sent by Brigham Young to Toquerville, near St. George, to produce wine. He had seven wives and 29 children. “John Conrad Naegle: Early Settler, Farmer, Wine Maker,” online at Washington County Historical Society, wchsutha.org.

28. Jenson identifies Williams as a non-Mormon, but Ivins’s subsequent entries make it clear that if Williams was not LDS when Mormons began settling the Williams Valley in New Mexico, he had subsequently joined the church. Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1941), s.v. “Pleasanton Ward.”

29. Emilio Kosterlitzky (1853-1928) was born in Moscow, Russia. Unhappy with his life as a sailor, he jumped ship in 1873 and found himself in Sonora, where he enlisted in the Mexican army. Thus began an illustrious career in service of President Díaz and beyond until 1917 when he accepted a position with the U.S. Justice Department. Cornelius C. Smith Jr., Emilio Kosterlitzky: Eagle of Sonora and the Southwest Border (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1970), 29, 36-39, 155-76, 309-11.

30. Juan Fenochio was a commander in the Mexican army and close friend of Kosterlitzky. Ibid., 100.

31. Mary Lorette Picton (1863-1895), one of George Teasdale’s seven living wives, died on Saturday, December 14, 1895.

32. William D. Johnson Jr. (1850-1910) was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and became the acting bishop of Kanab for seven years. Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, s.v. Johnson, “William Derby, jun.”

33. Joseph Henry James (1855-1908) grew up in Ogden and helped settle the Little Colorado River area of Arizona. He thereafter left with his three wives and seven children for Mexico, to build the St. James Hotel and Store in Colonia Dublán before moving to Díaz. He died in a logging accident. Harriet Ethel Jensen Woolsey, “The Life History of Mr. Joseph Henry James,” James Family Histories and Pictures, james.forefamilies.com.

34. Charles W. Richins (1862-1926) was born in England and died in Colonia Díaz. He had three wives.

35. James A. Little (1822-1908) was a nephew of Brigham Young but was hired out to another family when still a child and independently encountered LDS missionaries. He helped found Parowan, served a mission to England, worked in Brigham Young’s office, and escaped to Mexico over polygamy. He died in Kanab. David Carlisle, “The James Little Account,” Darrin & Andrea Lythgoe’s Genealogy Pages, lythgoes.net.

36. James Henry Martineau (1828-1921) was a member of the St. Joseph, Arizona, stake presidency with a “great desire to go to Mexico.” A surveyor, he appealed to President John Taylor, who sent him in 1885 to lay out the “town plats of Chuichupa and Dublan, and the Colonia Juarez land purchase” for ten dollars a day. Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 3:156-58; Donald G. Godfrey and Rebecca S. Martineau-McCarty, eds., An Uncommon Common Pioneer: The Journals of James Henry Martineau, 1828-1918 (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 2008), 457-58.

37. William Howard Ivins (1866-1937) was Anthony’s stepbrother, a son of Israel Ivins and his second wife, Julia Hill.

38. Palomas is four miles south of Columbus on the Mexican side of the border.

39. “Ap” is a Welsh word indicating progeny, in this case the son of Daniel Jones. It becomes Ivins’s nickname for him.

40. Ivins’s wife, Elizabeth Ashby Snow.

41. “City and Neighborhood,” Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 12, 1896, 8.

42. Anthony’s sister Caddie died in 1884. Ivins’s mother, Anna Lowrie Ivins, passed away on January 10, 1896.

43. Uriah T. Jones (1861-1929) was president of the Parowan Stake from 1892 to 1909.

44. Miles Park Romney (1843-1904) was a founder of Colonia Juárez, and one of his children was the first baby born in the colony. He died in Colonia Dublán.

45. Ivins was an avid horseman. His son recorded detailed information about the family horses, including the ones mentioned above. Heber Grant Ivins, “Stories of My Life in Mexico,” H. Grant Ivins Papers, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, photocopy in possession of Guy H. Ivins. The name Minnehaha came from the leading female character in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, The Song of Hiawatha.

46. Ivins’s extant diaries resume at this point.

47. Orson Pratt Brown (1863-1946) was born in Ogden and lived most of his life in Colonia Dublán with his five wives and thirty-five children. See Bertha Brown, comp., “A Biographical Sketch of the Life of Orson Pratt Brown,” The Life, Times & Family of Orson Pratt Brown, www.orsonprattbrown.com.

48. Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association.

49. Possibly The Rough Diamond by John Baldwin Buckstone (1802-79).

50. This seemingly nonsensical phrase may be an abbreviated summary of the play’s plot.

51. The Oaxaca colonists still owed the owners, Kosterlitsky and Fenochio, half the purchase price. Magdalena is about 250 miles west of the colonies, south of Tucson and Nogales.

52. AWI Journal, 1:245. This would include the settlements of Cave Valley, Chuichupa, Garcia, and Pacheco.

53. John Thomas Whetten (1862-1932) would become the bishop of Garcia, also known as Round Valley, where the colonists built log and adobe houses beginning in 1895. He had four wives. B. Carmon Hardy, Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 421; Romney, Mormon Colonies, 111.

54. At first the colony was called Mariano, “but soon it was changed to Chuichupa by which designation it has been known to the present.” Romney, Mormon Colonies, 113.

55. Ivins, in fact, describes the area in his journal: “The country is high and somewhat broken, and covered with a fine growth of pine timber. Grass is luxuriant but does not appear to be of superior quality and it appears to me that it would be cold and frosty.” AWI Journal, 1:245.

56. Alonzo L. Farnsworth (1841-1931) and family were the first settlers in Garcia. His brother Albert S. Farnsworth (1844-1904) came later. Romney, Mormon Colonies, 110.

57. There was not yet a colony at this location, so Ivins must have written in “Colonia Morelos” at a later date. On his exploratory trip, he was sufficiently impressed that he returned three years later to buy the existing ranch for $15,000. Romney, Mormon Colonies in Mexico, 120-22.

58. Alma Platte Spilsbury (1850-1883) ran the dairy herd and cheese-making operation in the Sierra Madres, about twenty-five miles south of Colonia Juárez. Nelle Spilsbury Hatch, “Trailblazers in Mexico,” The Life, Times, and Family of Orson Pratt Brown, www.orsonprattbrown.com.

59. Ivins’s daughter.

60. Ivins remarks that “I had never seen this man before and have not since seen him.” AWI Journal, 1:246.

61. George Washington Sevey (1832-1902) was Colonia Juárez’s first bishop. He had three wives and thirty children and lived out his life in the colony. Minerva Sevey Vance and Eileen Sevey Cluff, The Genealogy of the Descendants of George Washington Sevey (Medford, OR: By the authors, 1965), 1, 15, 257.

62. Ivins explained: “I had arranged to go to Villa Ahumada, on the Mexican Central Ry. and from there to Sonora to meet Gen. [Juan] Fenochio and Col. [Emilio] Kosterlitzky in regard to the Oaxaca lands. This morning Bishop Sevey came and wanted me to go via Galeana, where he, in connection with A. J. Stewart has purchased some land and desires to establish a colony.” AWI Journal, 1:247.

63. Ivins’s journal gives the name as Bertha. Some sources have Bolettie Larsen Anderson.

64. Six grains equal about half a gram. Ivins thought Sevey had pneumonia. AWI Journal, 1:248-49.

65. Villa Ahumada is some 140 miles east of Colonia Juárez, on the road from Chihuahua north to El Paso.

66. Peter A. Dillman (1852-1935) was a founder of Colonia Pacheco, where he was ward clerk. He had two wives, one of them a daughter of George Williams.

67. Hermosillo is about 200 miles south of Magdalena.

68. Ivins means reata, meaning lariat. Cf. AWI Journal, 1:250.

69. The ranch where the church would develop Colonia Oaxaca was Los Horcones (“the forks”), named after the shape of a prominent mesquite tree. Romney, Mormon Colonies in Mexico, 115.

70. The ATSF ran from Deming to Colorado Springs, the eastern terminus of the Midland Railroad, which connected passengers to the Denver and Rio Grande line in Grand Junction, Colorado, on the border with Utah.

71. Preston Nutter (1850-1936) owned thousands of cattle throughout Utah, Colorado, and Arizona and managed the Strawberry Cattle Company. AWI Journal, 1:251; Virginia N. Price and John T. Darby, “Preston Nutter: Utah Cattleman, 1886-1936,” Utah Historical Quarterly 32 (Summer, 1964) 3: 232-51.

72. Ivins summarized the statement’s stipulation that “men holding high eccliastical positions should not participate in politics without consent” of the church presidency. AWI Journal, 1:252. For a discussion of this, see James R. Clark, ed., Messages of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 3:271-77.

73. Moses Thatcher and Seventies leader B. H. Roberts wanted political freedom. Roberts eventually conceded, but Thatcher was removed from the Twelve. Clark, Messages, 3:272, 281. An official notice in October explained that Thatcher committed three more infractions when he spoke publicly on politics without permission. He was therefore “suspended … from exercising any of the functions of the Priesthood.” Thatcher was summoned to church court but avoided excommunication by confessing his sin. Thomas G. Alexander, Things in Heaven and Earth: Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993), 311-20; Gustive O. Larson, The “Americanization” of Utah (San Marino, CA: The Huntington Library, 1971), 291n17; Stanley S. Ivins, “The Moses Thatcher Case: Pertaining to Mormon Interference in Politics,” Stanley Snow Ivins Papers, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah.

74. Isaiah Cox (1838-1896) left behind three wives and fourteen children still at home. Sandra Gwilliam, “Isaiah Cox,” Find a Grave, www.findagrave.com; “Funeral Services,” St. George Union, Apr. 16, 1896.

75. Robert C. Lund (1847-1906) was a telegraph operator, two-term mayor of St. George, and partner in the Woolley, Lund, and Judd general mercantile store.

76. The Union Pacific reached Milford in 1880 but would not continue further south for another decade, then bypassed St. George because of its difficult terrain.

77. Saltair was a pavilion on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake. Popular with adults as well as teenagers, it featured dining and dancing.

78. About seventy miles east of Pueblo.

79. Leal was the Minister of Colonization, “a man of some fifty years, of commanding presence, strong character, … manners cordial, conversation frank. He had visited Utah and greatly admired the pluck of her enterprising and prosperous communities, regarded the ‘Mormons’ as the most successful colonizers in the world; and as such said that Mexico would gladly welcome any of them choosing to make homes in the Republic.” Andrew Jensen, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1936), 1:132.