Wilford Woodruff Obituary,Many thanks to Julie Litts Robst for sharing this obituary of her ancestor, Wilford Woodruff, who Julie says lived in Richland Township in 1832 - 1834. His brother's, Ozem Thompson Woodruff and my GGG-Grandfather Azmon Woodruff remained in Richland after Azmon and Wilford were baptized Mormon's, Wilford left Richland in the spring of 1834 and joined the Mormon's at Kirtland, Ohio. Wilford's obituary is Full of information on his life .. a very interesting piece.
Town of Richland,
Oswego County, N.Y.
Friday September 2, 1898 Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah
PRESIDENT WOODRUFF IS DEAD
Passed Away at San Francisco at 6:40 this Morning - The End was Calm and Peaceful.
San Francisco, Sept. 1, 1898.
Prest. Jos. F. Smith:
President Woodruff’s condition very serious. It is the opinion of experts this may terminate his mission. He is not sensible at this time. The attack was very sudden - suppressed urine the cause. His advanced age against him.
Geo. Q. Cannon.
San Francisco, Sept. 2, 1898, 10:05 a.m.
President Jos. F. Smith:
President Woodruff is dead. He left us at 6:40 this morning. Break the news to his family. He slept peacefully all night, and passed away without movement.
Geo. Q. Cannon.
HIS DEATH CAME SUDDENLY
The Venerable President Well When He Left Home Three Weeks Ago.
Announcement of His Death Caused a Shock Throughout the Community - All Classes Sound His Praises.
When the “News” bulletin was posted announcing President Woodruff’s death the sad tidings spread rapidly throughout the city and created a shock everywhere, coming as they did, with meteoric swiftness. It was a well known fact that the venerable President was in the best of health when he left home for the coast three weeks ago tomorrow. To a friend on the train, who accompanied him to Ogden, he remarked cheerily, “I wish President Cannon was as well as I am.”
President Cannon, it will be remembered, took the trip with a view to benefiting his health while President Woodruff went simply for rest. He always liked a seacoast country and always felt better and slept better while on the water or near the sea level. When twelve days ago President and Mrs. Cannon were summoned home to attend the bedside of their daughter, Vera, who had been operated on for appendicitis, they left President Woodruff feeling very well. When they returned they found him in the same condition, and letters received since that time indicated that all was favorable to his homecoming the latter part of this week, as expected by his family, the Church authorities and his friends.
From this statement of the case it will be seen that his death was very sudden and that it was the result of conditions altogether unsuspected until within a few hours of the time that his manly and noble spirit quietly took its departure into another world.
Throughout the afternoon numerous were the expressions of regret that were heard concerning the President’s sudden death. All classes sounded his praises and all agreed that he was a grand and good man. Only good words will be spoken of his memory.
It is not known definitely when his remains will be brought home for burial but arrangements to that end are being made and they will be brought to this city as soon as possible.
As Associated Press dispatch says: San Francisco, Sept. 2 - Wilford Woodruff, President of the Mormon Church, died at the resident of Colonel Isaac Trumbo here this morning, aged 91 years.
Saturday, September 3, 1898 - Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah
The Remains Will Arrive Here Over the Rio Grande Tomorrow Morning
Due Here at 8:30 O’clock. President Woodruff’s Family and Church Officials Will Go Up to Ogden And Meet The Funeral Party There.
President Woodruff’s death continues to be the chief theme of discussion and subject of thought throughout the City and State. Telegrams and expressions of condolence and sorrow were received from far and near today.
Every man who spoke his name or referred to his memory did so with a governance which plainly showed the high esteem in which he held the honored deed.
Nothing definite is yet known as to the time of holding the funeral. President Joseph F. Smith stated this afternoon that that was something that could not be determined before tomorrow and perhaps not then. Several members of the family are at distant points, Apostle A. O. Woodruff, his son, is in Canada. Newton, another son, is in the Southern States on a mission, David is in the Big Hole country and some other members are at Ashley. Attempts have been made to communicate with all of them, however, and response to the telegrams sent out may be speedily looked for.
The members of the Council of Twelve Apostles who were in the city held a meeting at the President’s office at noon today and discussed the President’s death and funeral arrangements so far as it was possible at this time. Those who were in attendance at the office were President Smith, President Snow, and Apostles F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, Herber J. Grant, and Matthias Cowley. A telegram was received from Apostle Lyman saying that he was on the way home, while a dispatch from Apostle Trusdale said he would arrive here at 6:29 this evening.
It was decided that the members of the President’s family, President Smith and the members of the Twelve who are in the city should go up to Ogden ..... [article cut off .....]
A REMARKABLE CAREER
Interesting and Thrilling Incident in the Life of a Great and Good Man.
Wilford Woodruff, fourth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born March 1, 1807, in Farmington, now called Avon, Hartford county, Connecticut. He was the son of Aphek and Buelah Thompson Woodruff. Most of his ancestors were possessed of strong constitutions, and lived to a good old age. They were among the earliest settlers in that region. Until he was twenty years of age, he assisted his father, who was a miller.
In April, 1827, he took charge of a flouring mill himself, and continued in that business until the spring of 1832, when he went to Richland, Oswego county, New York, purchased a farm and a saw mill, and settled in business at that place. His mind was exercised on religious subjects at an early age, but he did not become connected with any religious denominator, because their doctrines and practices were not, as he viewed them, in consonance with those of the Church established by Christ and His Apostles. He prayed earnestly that if God had a true Church on the earth he might become acquainted with it. On December 29, 1833, he and his brother Azmon heard Elders Zera Pulsipher and Elijah Cheeny preach the Gospel as proclaimed by Joseph Smith. They also read the Book of Mormon. Being convinced of its truth, he was baptized two days afterwards by Elder Zera Pulsipher and confirmed the same evening. He was ordained a Teacher in the Church, January 2, 1834. On the 11th of April he started with a team for Kirkland, Ohio, where he arrived on the 25th and met Joseph Smith, with whom he made his home for a week, and heard many discourses from the Elders of the Church. He started on the 1st of May as a member of “Zion’s Camp,” and traveled with that body to Missouri. He remained in Clay county until the winter. On a Sunday evening he went into the woods alone and prayed to God that he might preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. He received a witness from heaven that his prayers should be answered. The same evening Elder Elias Higbee met him and said “Brother Wilford, the Spirit of the Lord tells me that you should be ordained and go on a mission.” He replied, “I am ready.” November 5th he was ordained a Priest, and on January 13, 1835, he started without purse or scrip on foot for Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky, in company with Elder Harry Brown. They walked through swamps and forests where they were in danger from wild beasts, and passed through Jackson county, where they were in danger from mobs. Their first opportunity to preach to a congregation was on January 24th, at the house of Mr. Nathan Tanner, in Green county, Missouri. On arriving in Arkansas they were vehemently and bitterly opposed by one Alexander Akeman. On bearing testimony to him of the truth of Mormonism, he followed Mr. Woodruff in a rage as if to do him some bodily harm, but fell dead at his feet as through struck by lightening. This was on February 14, 1835. He made his way to Little Rock, part of the journey in a canoe, which he and his companion made from a cottonwood tree, with which they rode down the Arkansas River 125 miles. They waded through mud and water 175 miles on foot. Mr. Woodruff was left by his companion alone in a swamp, while traveling from Little Rock, Arkansas to Memphis, Tennessee. He continued his journey, preaching by the way, and on April 4th, in the middle of Tennessee, he met with Elder Warren Parish, with whom he labored in the ministry over three months. They baptized forty persons. On the 28th of June, Wilford Woodruff was ordained an Elder by Warren Parish. He extended his labors into Kentucky, and baptized thirty-one persons after Elder Parish had left for Kirkland.
During the year 1835, he traveled altogether 3,248 miles, held 170 meetings, baptized 43 persons and organized three branches of the Church.
In the fall of 1836, he returned to Ohio and spent the winter in Kirkland. In May, 1837, he left Kirkland on a mission to the Fox Islands, visiting on the way his relatives in Connecticut, to whom he preached, some of whom he baptized. He landed on North Fox Island August 20, and by the month of October two branches of the Church were organized there. He subsequently introduced the Gospel in the City of Bangor, Maine, visited Boston, Providence, and New York, then went to Farmington, Connecticut, where he baptized his father, step-mother, sister and other relatives, and organized a branch of the Church. He then returned to Fox Island. At North Vinal Haven on August 9th, 1838, he received word that he had been chosen by revelation to fill a vacancy in the Council of the Twelve Apostles, and that he was to go to Far West, Missouri, and prepare to take a mission to England. He organized a company of the Saints to emigrate to the headquarters of the Church, and started October 9th to lead a company of 53 souls who traveled nearly three months in wagons through rain, mud, snow and frost. While crossing the Green Mountains, Elder Woodruff was attacked with a severe illness and brought to the point of death, but was healed by the power of God through faith. In the following spring he went to Far West to fulfill the commandment, and on April 26, 1839, on the spot designated he and Elder George A. Smith were ordained members of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. He started August 8th on his mission to England, although then suffering severely from chills and fever. He arrived in Liverpool January 11, 1840, and labored successfully in Staffordshire. Being prompted by the Spirit to go southward, he went to the city of Worcester.
In that neighborhood was a body of earnest religious people, called the United Brethren. The members assembled for religious worship in chapels and other places, and had forty-five preachers among them. They believed that the Church of Christ was not on the earth in its fullness and were praying and waiting for more light and truth. Elder Woodruff commenced to preach among them, and after eight months labor, eighteen hundred persons had been baptized in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, including all the United Brethren but one, and over a hundred preachers of different denominations. He afterwards went to London on a mission and visited Manchester and on the 21st of April, 1841, after a very prosperous mission, he sailed from Liverpool, and arrived at New York May 20th. He went to Scarborough, Maine, where he had left his family two years, and arrived in Nauvoo October 5th.
Wilford Woodruff was appointed a member of the City Council of Nauvoo, October 30, 1841. February 3, 1842, he was placed in charge of the business department of the Times and Seasons. The following July he went on a mission to the Eastern States, from which he returned November 4th. In the spring of 1844 he went on another mission to the Eastern States, and learning of the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, he returned to Nauvoo, arriving there August 6th. Being appointed by his brethren of the Twelve to go to England again to preside over the British mission, he left Nauvoo August 28th, 1844, and returned early in 1846, when the Mormons were leaving for the West. He traveled with the Pioneers across the Plains in 1847, being one of the first to arrive on the spot where Salt Lake City stands. In 1848 he was sent on a mission to the Eastern States, returning in 1850. He was elected in December of that year, a member of the Senate of the Provisional State of Deseret. He went on exploring expeditions to different parts of Utah, was active in agricultural pursuits, was chosen President of Horticultural society of Utah at its organization September 13, 1855, and was prominent in all the affairs of the Territory, civil and ecclesiastical.
Although a very hard worker at farming and fruit raising, as well as in the missionary field, Elder Woodruff kept a daily journal from which much of the history of the Mormon Church has been compiled. It contains synopses of discourses and instructions by Joseph Smith, and other leaders in the Mormon Church, which are of great value, and a record of many incidents which would otherwise have been lost to posterity. The journal has been continued in his own hand writing up to the present date. It is a marvel of patience, perseverance and diligence. In addition to his other duties President Woodruff was active for a great many years in the affairs of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing society, of which he was the president. For twenty-one years he was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Utah; twenty in the Council and one in the House. In the fall of 1875 he was appointed historian and general recorder of the Church, which position he occupied until April 1889. When the Temple at St. George, in southern Utah, was dedicated by Brigham Young in the spring of 1877, Wilford Woodruff was appointed President of that Temple, and there he performed an extraordinary work on behalf of his ancestors. The Mormon religion teaches that the departed who have not had the opportunity of hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the flesh, will learn of it in the spirit, and that their living posterity who are in the Church of Christ may perform a work for their redemption, by attending vicariously to the ordinances instituted by the Savior. Elder Woodruff and his family attended in person to baptisms performed with other ordinances on behalf of the dead, most of which Elder Woodruff witnessed.
When John Taylor succeeded to the Presidency of the Church, Wilford Woodruff became the President of the Twelve Apostles, and after presiding with the rest of the Twelve until April 7, 1889, he was then sustained at the General Conference as the President of the Church with George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith as his councilors in the Presidency.
Under the administration of President Woodruff a general Church board of education was formed in 1888, to direct and perfect the system of Church high schools, academies and colleges throughout Utah and the surrounding regions, not, however, to interfere with the secular schools of the territory.
From the year 1834 to the close of 1895, Wilford Woodruff traveled 172,369 miles, held 7,555 meetings, attended 75 Semi-Annual Conferences, and 344 quarterly conferences; preached 3,526 discourses; established 77 preaching places in the missionary field; organized 51 branches of the Church; received 18,977 letters; wrote 11,519 letters; assisted in the confirmation into the Church of 8,952 persons, and in addition to his work in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. He traveled through England, Scotland, Wales, six islands of the sea, twenty-three of the United States, and five territories.
President Woodruff has been remarkable, not only for the work he has done, but for the vicissitude and mishaps which he has encountered through his eventful life. When three years of age he fell into a caldron of boiling water, and it was nine months before he was considered out of danger. When five years old, he fell from the great beam of a barn striking his face; three months later he fell down stairs and broke his arm. Soon after, he broke his other arm. At six years old he was chased by a mad bovine, but fell into a post hole and the animal leaped over him. The same year he broke both bones of one of his legs in his father’s saw mill. When 7 years of age, a load of hay on which he was riding tipped over upon him, and he was nearly suffocated. When eight years old, a wagon in which he was riding was turned over upon him, but he was not seriously injured. When nine years old, he fell from an elm tree, through the breaking of a dry limb, fifteen feet to the ground, and was supposed to be dead, but he recovered. When twelve years old, he was drowned in Farmington River, Connecticut, but was brought up by a young man from thirty feet of water. He suffered greatly in his restoration to life. When thirteen years of age, he became benumbed with cold, while walking through the meadows, and went into the sleep of death, becoming insensible, but was found and restored. When fourteen years old, he split his in-step open with an axe, and was nine months getting well. At fifteen he was bitten in his left hand by a mad dog. At seventeen he was thrown from an ill-tempered horse over the horse’s head on a steep hill amid the rocks; he landed over the rocks on his feet about a rod ahead. It broke his left leg in two places and dislocated both his ankles. In eight weeks he was out of doors on crutches. In 1827, while attempting to clear the ice out of a water-wheel, a full head of water was turned on, his feet slipped into the wheel, but he plunged forward head first into three feet of water and escaped being crushed to death. In 1831 he was again caught in a wheel twenty feet in diameter, but leaped through to the bottom and was thrown out against a ragged stone wall, and escaped with a few bruises. During the winter of that year he suffered severely from lung fever. In 1833, the day he was baptized, a horse, newly sharp shod, kicked a hat off his head, and ten minutes afterwards he was thrown from a sleigh, without any box, on which he was driving, lighting between the horses and was dragged with the sleigh on him to the bottom of a hill on a snow path, but escaped unharmed. IN 1834 he narrowly escaped death twice from the discharge of fire arms, a rifle ball passing within a few inches of his breast, and a musket heavily loaded, being snapped with the muzzle pointed at his breast. In April 1839, in Rochester, Illinois, while riding on the forward axle tree of a wagon, he was thrown so that his head and shoulders were dragging. His horse took fright and dragged him about half a mile till they ran into a high fence. He was bruised, but no bones were broken. While going to St. Louis, in July 1842, he had a severe attack of billous fever, and on returning to Nauvoo, in August, was confined to his bed forty days, and appeared to be stricken with death, but he recovered by the manifestation of the power of God. September 12, 1843, at 5 p.m., he left Boston on the Portland Express; six miles south of Kennebunk. After dark, the train was wrecked, several cars were smashed to pieces, the engineer was killed, some of the passengers had broken bones, but he escaped unhurt. October 5, 1846, when with the camp of the Saints on the west bank of the Missouri River, while cutting some timber, he was crushed by a falling tree, his breast bone and three ribs on the left side were broken, his left arm, hip and thigh were badly bruised, and he was internally injured, yet he rode two and a half miles over rough road and was then carried to his wagon, when President Brigham Young and his councilors laid hands on him and rebuked his pain. He had no physician, was able to walk in twenty days, and in thirty days from the time he was hurt he was able to work again. On the 21st of April, 1856, while helping to move an ox that had died from poison and had been skinned, his arm was inoculated with the virus, and seven days afterward he began to swell, and his whole system appeared to be impregnated with the poison. President Young administered to him and promised him he should recover and live to finish the work appointed to him on earth. He subsequently recovered, although dead flesh had to be removed from his arm with instruments and lunar caustic.
Notwithstanding all these sufferings, President Woodruff was a hale, vigorous and active man up to the time of his demise. When younger, he was able to walk forty or fifty miles a day, and in one case walked sixty miles. He attended regularly to his official duties, spending nearly every day at his office, meeting with his associates in the ministry and with the directors of a number of associations with which he was connected, and until recently worked occasionally on his farm or in his garden. He was in the full possession of his faculties. He was of medium height, with a well set figure and of quick and active habits. He has always been strictly temperate, and had profound faith in the providence of God, and in the principles of the Church over which he presided. He possessed the confidence and esteem, not only of the Latter-day Saints, but of all classes of people who differed with him in faith, but who had become acquainted with his sterling honesty and integrity, simplicity of manners, unostentatious life and faithful adherence to the sincere convictions. He was one of the remarkable figures in the closing scenes of the most remarkable century in the history of the world.
Monday September 5, 1898 Deseret News - Salt Lake City, Utah
Arrangements Made for President Woodruff’s Obsequies.
Will Be 10:30 A.M. Thursday
Services Will Be Held at the Tabernacle and Will be Largely Attended.
Details Not All Yet Agreed Upon.
Elders Brigham Young, A. O. Woodruff and Herber J. Grant a Committee of Arrangement-Sub-Connittees.
President Woodruff’s funeral will be held in the Tabernacle on Thursday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. That much was decided on at a meeting of the Council of the Twelve Apostles held at the President’s office at noon today. The details were referred to a committee consisting of Elders Brigham Young, Herber J. Grant and A. O. Woodruff, the latter a son of the deceased President. Elder Woodruff arrived home on an early train this morning from Canada where he was when he learned by wire of the sad death of his honored father.
The committee met again this afternoon with Thomas Hull acting as sectuary and discussed the details of the funeral, which will be held, in all respects, according to President Woodruff’s request and instructions. There will not be the slightest deviation in this regard if it can be avoided. The general committee has selected the following:
As Marshal of the day - Robert T. Burton. As his aids - Bryant H. Wells, __ Smoot, Brigham F. Grant.
Committee on Decorations - John R. Winder, chairman; Charles R. Savage, Nelson A. Empey, Spencer Clawson.
Committee on Music - Evan Stephens, chairman; Horace G. Whitney, George D. Pyper, George W. Thatcher, Jr.
Committee on Seating - John C. Cuttler, chairman; Rodney C. Badger, Milando Pratt, Charles J. Thomas.
As Secretary to the General Committee - Thomas Hull.
The General Committee desire that all of the above parties shall meet with them at the President’s office, at 7 o’clock this evening, when suitable arrangements for additional aids and all other details pertaining to the funeral can be agreed upon.
All associations, organizations, bands, etc., that desire to take part in the funeral are requested to communicate at once with Thomas Hull, secretary, whose address is Templeton building, Salt Lake City.
HERBER J. GRANT,
CHEAP RAILROAD RATES
That the funeral will be largely attended is an assured fact. The date and place of the services were telegraphed today to all parts of the State and the railroad companies this afternoon announced cheap rates from and to all points in Utah and Idaho. The Short Line, Rio Grande and Union Pacific all anticipate doing a heavy business.
THE PRESIDENT’S LAST HOURS,
They Were, Says President Cannon, Very Quiet and Peaceful.
It will be welcome news to the people of Utah, and to many elsewhere that President Woodruff’s last hours upon earth were painless and peaceful and that his passing away was as unruffled as a summer’s dream. He simply slept away into the sleep of death without a movement or struggle of any kind.
Regarding his condition before death President Cannon said to a “News” representative today: “During his stay in San Francisco President Woodruff slept and rested well and ate with a growing appetite. He gave not the slightest indication of ailment and in fact was not ailing at all. On Monday, a week ago today, we were out riding in the park together and he was particularly talkative and cheerful, so much so that I made a special note of it. On Tuesday he did not go out but felt well. Wednesday morning he wrote letters and made entries in his daily diary, but did not feel well and was somewhat uneasy. On Thursday his condition was less favorable and he commenced to grow more apprehensive. About 2 o’clock in the afternoon he became very bad and at that time uttered his last coherent words. He had been told that I was present and he said, ‘Yes, I can see him.’ He also said something about his son Asahel whom he expressed a desire to see.
“Dr. Winslow Anderson, formerly of Salt Lake, Dr. Buckley and Dr. McMutt, a famous specialist were in attendance and declared his condition to be very critical. After 6 p.m. Thursday he was in a state of coma up to the time of his death. At 12 o’clock midnight I saw him and he was sleeping as peacefully and quietly as possible and his face wore a very pleasant expression. I felt his pulse and it gradually grew weaker and weaker until it ceased to beat. His body was warm almost to the last. The end came Friday morning at 6:40 without a struggle of any kind.
ARRIVAL OF THE REMAINS
Funeral Party Met at Ogden by President Smith and Others
At the Rio Grande Western depot yesterday morning, there was a subdued and saddened assemblage, waiting for the special train which had been tendered to President Joseph F. Smith by the officials of the Rio Grande Western Railroad, to carry himself and the family of the deceased President Wilford Woodruff and other friends to meet the train that was bearing the remains of the dead President back to the people he loved so well and who in turn loved and respected him so much.
The party that boarded the train which started northward at 5:30 a.m. had in it several of the sons and daughters and other near relatives of President Woodruff, besides all of the Apostles who were in the city, and included President Joseph F. Smith, President Lorenzo Snow, Apostles Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Herber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund and George Teasdale; Elders Joseph E. Taylor, and Charles W. Penrose, of the State presidency, Elder George Reynolds, private secretary of the deceased President; W. C. Spence, the Church transportation agent, and D. E. Spencer, of the Oregon Short Line.
When the special funeral car reached Ogden the party accompanying the remains, consisting of President George Q. Cannon and Mrs. Cannon, Col. Isaac Trumbo, Bishop and Mrs. Clawson, Joseph J. Daynes, Jr., and Asahel H. Woodruff, joined the home party, and started for this city, reaching here at 9:30. At Ogden and all along the line to the city large crowds had gathered at the depots and with bared heads and tearful eyes bore reverence to the loved dead. At the Rio Grande depot here a throng was waiting the train, and amid silence deep, impressive and respectful, the casket was transferred to the hearse, the procession was formed and all that was mortal of the honored leader was taken to Woodruff Villa, the home he had left so short a time ago.
TALK ON HIS OWN LIFE AND PEOPLE
What the President Said to a Newspaper and What the Newspaper Said of Him.
San Francisco Chronicle: Wilford Woodruff, President of the Mormon Church, died at the residence of Colonel Isaac Trumbo shortly after 7 o’clock yesterday morning.
He died surrounded by every comfort that loving hands could provide, while close beside him were his wife and his old friends, George Q. Cannon, President and councelor in the Church, and Bishop Hiram B. Clawson, who, with their wives, were sojourning in the same hospitable home.
President Woodruff had for some time been suffering from kidney and bladder troubles, but still remained active and though in his ninety-second year frankly proclaimed his intention of becoming a centenarian. He grew so feeble, however, that when in July he was urged to come down to San Francisco and take a little holiday, he seized upon the idea with a boy’s enthusiasm, and immediately began preparations for the journey, telling all his friends that he was going off for a vacation. He was a very hard worker, and every check paid out in the great Mormon co-operative industrial organization had to pass through his hands. He told his attending physician here that on the day before he left he signed 800 checks. Yet he stood the journey well and greatly enjoyed the change. At a dinner given in his honor at the rooms of the Bohemian Club the other night, of which no man under 80 was permitted to partake and where George Bromley, Dr. Behr and other octogenarians of local note were assembled, Elder Woodruff was voted the smartest of the party. The day before he died he was talking of going out fishing.
On Thursday night he complained of feeling ill, and Dr. Winslow Anderson, his physician, called in Drs. McNutt and Buckley in consultation, and decided that there was little hope that he would see another dawn. He passed away like a child in his sleep, when the morning light was breaking.
It so chances that the Chronicle possesses President Woodruff’s own story of his life, recounted in this city on the 15th of August, the day following his arrival, and characterized by the vigorous, plain old man’s speech.
“I was born in Farmington, Connecticut on the 1st day of March, 1807, and you might say that I went through the War of 1812 as a boy. You see, I am a Yankee, a fullblooded Yankee.” The old man’s voice rang with honest pride as he put forth this claim. “I am a miller by trade, and my father and his father and grandfather before him were millers. All of my ancestors were strong laboring men. My mother died when I was a boy of fourteen, but I had a good step-mother, a good woman she was and gave an own mother’s care. We had some odd names in our family. My grandfather was Eldad Woodruff, and my father’s name was Aphek. There were three boys of us, and in 1830 we went to New York State and settled in Oswego county. I joined the Mormons there and was baptized in 1833. My father and brothers were with me in the church. When the Mormons were driven out of Nauvoo we were among exiles. I took father to the winter quarters on the Missouri River; he was just 78 then; and I went on to Utah, arriving on the site of the present Salt Lake City in company with Brigham Young, and I stood by his side when Sam Brannan attempted to persuade him to come on to California, and when he drove his cane into the ground and declared that he would build a city and a temple there. And he did it and lived to lay the temple’s corner stone!”
The aged man said that he had never seen cause to regret his conversation to the Mormon faith. He was an ardent admirer and friend of Brigham Young, saying:
“We had a great leader, one of the strongest men the world has ever produced. We believed in him, and we stood by him, and time demonstrated the wisdom of our choice.”
Elder Woodruff was a member of the Utah Legislature for twenty-seven years, and assisted in the framing of laws which have had a deep significance in the development of that prosperity which attended this strange settlement in what was in the beginning almost an untrodden wilderness. He accepted as divine revelation concerning polygamy, but when the United States government commanded that this practice should cease he bowed to the will of the nation and himself issued a manifesto against polygamy which brought sorrow and consternation to so many Mormon homes. Meantime he has been most active as a missionary, and traveled widely upon the continent of Europe, throughout this country, especially in the South, and made trips to far Pacific islands, some 175,000 miles in all, according to his own estimate. In 1839 he had been ordained one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church with the special designation of “The Banner of the Gospel.”
Elder Woodruff took great pride in the happiness and material advancement of his people. He was exceedingly proud of the fact that although Utah’s original population had been largely drawn from the ignorant and the poor of other nations, she now showed almost the lowest percentage of illiteracy of any state. The self-supporting condition of the people was another matter very dear to him.
“I am proud that when I sit down to my own table, almost every article of food upon it is produced by the people of Utah, and that everything that can be raised in my own garden is grown there.”
These were his own words, spoken to a caller three weeks ago. He followed this statement by saying that the Mormon leaders aimed at a much more perfect condition of society, which they would call “the United Order,” and in which perfect equality of social conditions should rule, and an absolute cooperative plan of supplies. But he added, with a sigh, that his people were “not yet ready for this Utopian system.”
The body of the dead President was placed on the 6 o’clock train yesterday afternoon, bound for Utah, a funeral car having been attached for this purpose by the Southern Pacific railroad company. With it went President Cannon, who was so broken down by grief that he could not be seen yesterday, as well as Bishop Clawson, both of these dignitaries of the Church being accompanied by their wives. Under their escort Mrs. Woodruff will return to her home.
According to the law of succession in the Mormon Church, President Woodruff will be succeeded in office by Lorenzo Snow, the eldest survivor of the Twelve Apostles. It was according to this rule that Brigham Young was succeeded by President Taylor, and he in turn by the man whose mortal remains are now speeding on their way to the State which he has had so great an agency in founding, and which he so dearly loved.
Special to the “News,”
Manti, Utah, Sept. 5, - Apostle Francis M. Lyman and Elder James H. Anderson will reach Salt Lake this evening. The Kanab Stake conference was in session Friday afternoon when Apostle Lyman received the news of President Woodruff’s death. The start of the Kanab was made Friday evening.
Salt Lake Temple,
In consequence of the funeral of the late President Wilford Woodruff occuring on Thursday, Sept. 8th, the Sale Lake Temple will be closed during that day.
LORENZO SNOW, President.
Deseret Evening News - Tuesday, September 6, 1898
All Arrangements Will Be Perfected Tomorrow
Tabernacle Decorations - Tabernacle Choir Rehearsal
All arrangements for President Woodruff’s funeral have not yet been made, but all committees, general and otherwise, are diligently at work and by tomorrow afternoon the details, it is expected, will be perfected sufficiently to permit of publication. The general committee, consisting of Elders Brigham Young, H. J. Grant and A. O. Woodruff will meet again at 7 o’clock this evening and hear reports and made additional suggestions.
The committee on decoration, Colonel Winder chairman, met today and one more member, Henry Dinwoodey, was added. The aids of General R. T. Burton also met and outlined in a general way the part they are to perform in the work of laying away the honored President. It was decided to ask for additional aids, and the following were accordingly invited to give what assistance they could:
Milton H. Hardy, George M. Cannon, George A. Smith, Richard R. Lyman, Hugh J. Cannon, Elias A. Smith, B. S. Young, Junius F. Wells, Dewey Richards, Nephi L. Morris, Frank Y. Taylor, J. M. Weller, Joseph Kimball, Ezra C. Rich, Frank R. Snow, George J. Cannon, Joseph Merrill, M. D. Wells, V. P. Wells, John M. Cannon, James G. McDonald, Theo. T. Burton, Dr. A. C. Young, Hyrum Grant, Alfonzo Snow, Charles Wilcken, Samuel Bateman, Mathonri Pratt, A. O. Smoot, George E. Teasdale, Moses W. Taylor, W. S. Burton, C. D. Schettler, F. M. Lyman, Jr., Brigham T. Cannon, Hyrum M. Smith, Richard Smith, Douglas M. Todd, Jno. E. Helper, Edward H. Snow, Jno. D. Spencer, George E. Wooley, Ben R. Eldredge.
The following letter was drafted and ordered sent to each of those gentlemen:
Dear Brother: Your name has been selected as one of the additional aids to assist the marshal of the day in making his arrangements for President Woodruff’s funeral. Please notify me is such appointment is agreeable, and if so, report at a meeting to be held at Presiding Bishop’s office, at 2 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).
Very truly yours, R. T. Burton, Marshal of the day.
THE PALL BEARERS.
The following is a list of the grandsons of the deceased President Wilford Woodruff, who are notified and will act as pall bearers. Dr. Orin W. Snow, Dr. Milton W. Snow, Wilford S. Woodruff, James Woodruff, Jr., George Scholes and Wilford Woodruff Beatie.
NOTICE TO THE TABERNACLE CHOIR.
Tabernacle choir members will please be at the Tabernacle tonight at 7:30 for a special rehearsal to prepare for President Woodruff’s funeral.
For President Woodruff’s funeral on Thursday next, the railroads are offering liberal rates and special train service. The Oregon Short Line will run a special leaving Ogden at 8:15 a.m. and arriving in Salt Lake at 9:20 a.m., also one leaving Nephi at 6:25 a.m. arriving here at 9:20 a.m. and one leaving Tooele at 7:45 and arriving here at 9:40 a.m. On the Tintic branch the regular service will be in effect. Tickets from Tintic points will be on sale September 7th, good returning September 9th. From all other points, the sale will be on September 8th, good returning the same day. Return trains for northern points will leave Salt Lake at 6:25, 8:45, and 11 p.m., while for Nephi and intermediate points the train will leave here at 7 p.m. The Tooele train will depart at 6 p.m.
The Rio Grande Western railway announces the following rates to Salt Lake and return for President Woodruff’s funeral, tickets limited to Thursday, the date of sale: Ogden, $1.00; Provo, $1.25; Lehi, $1.00; Payson, $1.50; Eureka, $2.00; Kaysville, .60c; Springville, $1.25; American Fork, $1.00; Spanish Fork, $1.40. From all other points the usual conference rates will prevail.
The Union Pacific announces a rate of one fare for the round trip from Evanston Park City, and intermediate points. Tickets will be on sale September 7th, limited to the 9th returning.
A MOST HONORED PIONEER
A Life Such as Possessed by President Woodruff Guaranteed to But Few Men
Rocky Mountain News: The death of Wilford Woodruff, President of the Mormon Church, removes from life a historic character. He was born in Connecticut in 1807, and was therefore 91 years of age at the time of his death. When he was born, Jefferson was President of the United States and Lieutenant Pike had started on his memorable journey to the Rocky Mountains. At that time the Union consisted of seventeen states, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio having been added to the original thirteen. When he became of age, President John Quincy Adams was just completing his administration, and Jackson was soon after inaugurated. When the Mormons started on their long journey across the plains in 1847 he was then 40 years of age. The Mexican War had not yet been fought, and the State of Utah as it now exists was Mexican Territory. There were then no settlements west of the Missouri, and a matter of fact, the Mississippi marked the real boundary of civilization of the nation. These facts show the wonderful span of President Woodruff’s life. Of the five wars in which the United States has been engaged, he saw four of them. He also saw the nation extend from the banks of the Ohio to the shores of the Pacific, on which he died. He aided in building the first settlement in Utah, and he lived to aid in celebrating its semi-centennial, and to see it a happy and prosperous State. More fortunate still, he lived to see the bitter personal and political enmities of two decades softened and largely passed away. Such a life, covering so long a period of national history is guaranteed to but few men. The people of Utah can well afford to build him a monument as one of their most honored pioneers.
Deseret Evening News: Wednesday, September 7th, 1898
BEFORE THE FUNERAL
Last Day Upon Earth of President Woodruff’s Mortal Remains
President Woodruff’s mortal remains will be laid to rest in the city cemetery tomorrow. The funeral ceremonies, as heretofore announced, will be held at the Tabernacle, and will begin at 10:30 a.m. All committees have been busily engaged today and the arrangements are now all completed. Large numbers of visitors will be in attendance from all parts of the State, and the indications are that the funeral will be one of the very largest ever held in Utah. The program, which was completed at a late hour this afternoon, is as follows:
PROGRAM AT THE TABERNACLE
1. Funeral march, composed for the occasion and played by J. J. Daynes.
2. Opening hymn, Thou dost not weep to weep alone; Tabernacle choir.
4. Singing, O, my Father, Thou that dwellest; George D. Pyper and Tabernacle choir.
6. Singing, “The Beautiful City;” Mrs. Maggie C. Hull and Temple choir.
8. Closing hymn, God moves in a mysterious way; Tabernacle choir. (Favorite hymn of President Woodruff.)
At the grave the Harmony Glee club will sing the selection, “Not dead, but sleepeth.”
ORDER OF PROCESSION
1. Marshal of the day and aides.
2. Held’s band.
3. Harmony Glee club.
4. Pall bearers.
7. Carriages one to twelve inclusive - family.
8. Carriages thirteen to eighteen inclusive, carrying General Church authorities.
9. Bank on foot.
10. Presidents of Stakes and councelors.
11. General organization Relief Societies.
12. Young Ladies Mutual Improvement associations.
13. Young Men’s Mutual Improvement associations.
14. Deseret Sunday School Union.
15. Primary associations.
16. Church Board of Education.
17. Faculty and students of Brigham Young academy and representatives of different Church colleges and academies.
18. First Regimental band and Utah National Guard.
19. State and city officials.
20. General public.
The general public desirous of going to the cemetery, are requested to assemble on South Temple street, west from West temple, and on West Temple, south from South Temple. By order of committee on general public. Elias A. Smith, Chairman.
WILL BE DRAWN BY HIS OWN TEAM
President Woodruff’s remains will be driven to the cemetery in a white hearse, drawn by one white and one black horse, the President’s favorite team. They will be driven by James W. McHenry, President Woodruff’s driver. Almost the last time he was driven out by Mr. McHenry, the President commended him for his kindly care and treatment of the team and reiterated the belief and statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith that there would be horses in the next world and that they would be ours if we were but kind to them. Commenting upon this subject further the venerable President placed his hand upon Mr. McHenry and said if he should be drawn by horses in the next world he hoped to be fortunate enough to have him for a driver.
Deseret Evening News - Thursday, September 8, 1898
CONSIGNED TO THE TOMB
Remains of the Late President Wilford Woodruff Laid to Rest With Impressive and Imposing Ceremony.
Thousands Crows the Tabernacle to Attend the Obsequies and Thousands More Throng the Temple Block Grounds With the Hope of Securing Admission to the Building.
ALL HONOR TO THE DEAD
His Name, Deeds and Memory Reverently Spoken of by His Brethern and Life-Long Associates.
A Career That has Been Most Wonderful and Beneficial to Mankind - Extended Over Nearly a Century - Experienced Many Strange Vicissitudes and Witnessed Many Transformations.
Viewed by Tens of Thousands Who Stood on the Streets for Hours.
Simple Services At The Grave.
The Funeral, Conducted in all Respects, According to Expressed Desires and Instructions of the President.
After more than ninety-one years of incessant activity and immeasurable usefulness upon the earth, the mortal tabernacle of President Wilford Woodruff was today laid to rest in the silent city above the metropolis that he helped to found and build. The final offices associated with the consignment of his remains to the plain and substantial tomb in which they were deposited were most kindly and reverently administered. Never was a great and good man more loved by his people than he, and perhaps a people never exhibited the love and respect they held for a leader to a greater extent than did the tens of thousands who attended his obsequies and witnessed the funeral cortege as it passed through the streets to the cemetery. Bared and bowed heads were everywhere in the multitude upon the streets. When words were spoken it was with subdued voices and all that was said was said with respect and honor for the departed pioneer, builder and statesman.
Probably not for years to come will such a spectacle as that which was presented this morning be again witnessed. Long before 8 o’clock anxious throngs had congregated in groups around the Temple square, awaiting the opening of the outer gates that seats might be obtained; for well was it anticipated that mighty hosts would throng the sacred precincts of the Tabernacle to pay by their presence the last sad token of respect to the dead leader in Israel. Therefore the scene was a remarkable one. Nothing however, occurred to mar the solemnity of the great occasion. The hush of expectation was felt by all as they stood in the shade of the Temple block walls and all around under the sheltering trees, and one could not but feel that with the deep solemnity prevailing and the tremor of sunshine that some sweetly solemn thought brought to mind as the moments passed, he was standing on the verge of the very shadow of the valley of Death. Not, however, with any feeling of gloom because of the great bereavement of the people felt they had sustained in the demise of their beloved President, because the sunlight of knowledge emanated from their hearts and beamed from their eyes that all might know they realized that their loss was his eternal gain.
And, so it was that more than an hour and a half before the services in the Tabernacle began, when the doors were opened, the great auditorium was almost filled. The people continued to pour in by every door; nearly every seat was taken before ten o’clock, except those reserved for the family of the deceased and the families and friends of the highest officials of the Church. These, however, were all occupied before the appointed time for the services to begin.
Outside the building, while the crowds were pressing forward, Marshal Burton and his aids, mounted on magnificent horses, were busy directing the movements of the attendant hosts. Without and within, the scene was the same, and when all who could obtain sitting or standing room in the great building were at length in position, one could not help but in his mind revert to similar occasions in the past. None of the mighty on the earth ever had more honor shown or love expressed than on this occasion was extended in honor and love of the great leader by this uncounted living gather was no pageantry nor panoply of war, but beneath the shadow of the Cross, under the benign influence of the Stars and Stripes, and in the light of the All-Father’s love and benediction. Perhaps no similar scene ever surpassed this of today even in the camps of ancient Israel, or in the gatherings that have been depicted by historic pen from the days when Greece and Rome paid tribute to their heroes or joined in jubilee of the dead. Yet there was no pageantry or panoply of strange device, no pomp of show or bombastic sorrow; nothing but the united homage and love, tinged only with a sense of bereavement, of the whole offered in simplisticity and truth; a people who were come hither from the remotest settlements where time and transportation permitted them to come; and who had loved to listen to the counsel and inspiration of him to whom they now had gathered to pay a last tribute.
It was just 10 o’clock when the body of President Woodruff was borne into the confines of the square and thence carried down the northern aisle of the Tabernacle to its central position on the dais before the stand. As the procession entered fully ten thousand people, with uncovered heads, rose in respect as the casket passed along its way, and so quiet was the rising that it seemed like the gentle rustling of autumn leaves or the soft compressment of muffled feet.
Thousands unable to gain admittance to the Tabernacle thronged and pressed around the entrances and walls in hope of hearing a word or sound from the hallowed precincts within that would touch a sympathetic chord in their responsive hearts, while thousands more lingered for hours under the kindly shelter of the numerous trees that deck and ornament the spacious grounds within the square, that they might, when opportunity arrived, join in the procession to the grave.
FROM THE HOME
The scenes around the late home of the venerable President were such as are usual in the presence of death. The family of the deceased and the general authorities of the Church were gathered around the bier and gentile, living hands bore the casket to the waiting hearse. Woodruff Villa was left by the cortege at twenty minutes past nine, and the procession wended its way from Fifth East to Sixth South, thence to State street, thence north to South Temple, thence west to East Temple and proceeding round the Temple block reached the north gate of the square at five minutes past ten. The casket was then borne into the Tabernacle by six bearers, whose names are as follows: Dr. L. W. Snow, Dr. M. W. Snow, Wilford S. Woodruff, James Woodruff, Jr., George Scholes and Wilford Woodruff Beatie. The family of the President followed immediately behind and then came the general authorities of the Church, the Twelve Apostles and others, and the casket was placed upon the dais in front of the stand where it could be seen by the assembled thousands, who rose en masse during the proceeding.
CEREMONIES AT THE TABERNACLE
Fervent and Earnest Tributes Paid to the Departed Leader
At 10:35, the Tabernacle being then crowded to its utmost capacity, Prof. Joseph J. Daynes rendered on the organ a march composed especially for the occasion. Its rendition was the signal for reverential attention, all seeming to feel to the greatest extent the utter solemnity of the occasion.
Of the general authorities there were present on the stand:
Councilors to the late President Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith.
Of the Twelve Apostles: Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Herber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Mariner W. Merrill, Anton H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley and Abraham O. Woodruff.
Presiding Patriarch John Smith.
Of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies: Seymour B. Young, Christian D. Fieldsted, B. H. Roberts, George Reynolds and J. Golden Kimball.
The Presiding Bishopric: William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton and John R. Winder.
The Presidency of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion.
President George Q. Cannon announced the opening hymn on page 357 of the L. D. S. hymn book, commencing as follows:
Thou dost not weep, to weep alone;
The broad bereavement seems to fall
Unheeded and unfelt by none;
He was beloved by all.
The hymn was sung with much pathos and feeling by the Tabernacle choir, after which Elder F. D. Richards of the Quorum of the Apostles, offered prayer. It was a fervent offering, replete with thankfulness to God the Father for His many blessings unto the Latter-day Saints; for His having raised up such a faithful and devoted servant as President Wilford Woodruff, and for the great good that he was enabled to do while sojourning here upon earth. Elder Richards invoked the blessings of God upon the bereaved family and especially upon President Woodruff’s son Owen who had been called to the holy Apostleship, and asked that he might be a man of God, like his father, unto the family.
Elder George D. Pyper and the choir sang the hymn:
O my Father, Thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain Thy presence,
And again behold Thy face?
In Thy holy habitation
Did my spirit once reside,
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near Thy side?
During the musical exercise, the inscription, Being Dead Yet Speaketh, was displayed by means of electric lights, the same appearing just over a life-size likeness of President Woodruff and having an excellent effect.
PRESIDENT JOSEPH F. SMITH
President Joseph F. Smith was the first speaker. He said in substance: It would be superfluous for him to attempt to enter into an historical relation of the great events of the life of our own great President, Wilford Woodruff. It would also seem unnecessary for him to attempt to eulogize his character and labors as a husband, a father, and a servant of God, because his life was so well known to the people. President Woodruff was the fourth in succession who had occupied the exalted position of President, Seer and Revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints upon the earth. It was the speaker’s privilege, when a child, to witness the funeral services over the remains of the first President, Joseph Smith, and to know him as a child may know a man. He was absent in England on a mission at the death of President Brigham Young, and was unable to attend the services of John Taylor. But he was glad to be present on this occasion, and to have the privilege of mingling his words and tears with those of his brethren over one of the late Presidents, whose labors had been so blessed to the people of God. He was thankful for the privilege of associating with the four Presidents of the Church, from his youth to his manhood. He was intimately associated with Brigham Young, and had the benefit of his wise council; and in his intimate associations with Presidents Taylor and Woodruff, he had experienced great joy, and had found them to be all that the people of God held them up to be before the world. Those who thought that these men had sinister motives and were not actuated by the purest desires, had been greatly deceived, or exceedingly ignorant. No men with whom he had been associated had lived purer lives. They had not sought to build themselves up, but to save souls and to establish truth in the earth. They had been sincere in their convictions, and in the inspiration they had received from God. Of this he was a living witness that Joseph Smith had been raised up to usher in the dispensation of the fullness of times. President Woodruff had shown his greatness in giving out his life’s labor to the establishment of this testimony in the earth. This day would soon be passed when infidel tongues would ridicule the claims of the Church of Christ, and the work of such men as President Woodruff would soon be established and acknowledged in the world; for he had exemplified all its truths and principles in his life, manifesting his faith and knowledge by his works. For he had recognized the fact that in the light of his knowledge, his whole trust and duty was to show his faithfulness to it.
Joseph Smith, the Prophet, was misunderstood by the world, and was not permitted to live beyond his young manhood, but his name was worthy of all honor, for he was raised up of God, and was not an imposter, a deceiver, or deceived. Men might imagine what they would but there were many thousands of people who could testify of their own knowledge, through the testimony of the Holy Ghost, that he was raised up by the Lord to usher in the glorious coming of the kingdom of God. This in order that men might be enlightened for the glory of God is intelligence; that men and women might be brought to a knowledge was to be brought to their souls through the ministration of the Holy Spirit, which bears record of the things of God; by which even the ignorant fishermen who followed our Lord might know that Jesus if the Christ. Only by this means could such a knowledge be obtained.
The speaker paid a strong tribute to President George Q. Cannon, Lorenzo Snow and Franklin D. Richards, and their faithfulness to the Presidents who had passed away. Of President Woodruff, he said he did not think he had any feeling in his heart to injure any man, but he had labored to do good in the world. No greater work had he done than in the exemplification, in his life, of all the principles he had espoused, and in his integrity to his breather in all conditions. He was made of the material of which martyrs are made; for he faced death many times for the sake of his brethren and the cause of Zion, and never quelled in the face of danger, no matter who of his associated may have proved themselves traitors.
President Smith hoped that he and all others might follow in all their lives the path marked out by our deceased President. He prayed for the blessings of God on the bereaved family that they might follow the life work of their great leader, in which case their salvation would be sure.
A solo and chorus entitled, Beautiful City, was then sung by Sister Maggie C. Hull and the Temple choir, under the leadership of Prof. C. J. Thomas.
PRESIDENT SNOW SPEAKS
President Lorenzo Snow then spoke. He said he was very much pleased and delighted to see such a vast multitude assembled for the purpose of honoring President Woodruff. He had been acquainted with President Woodruff for 62 years, a good portion of the time quite intimately. All that has been said of him was fully worthy of the life which he had led. President Snow did not feel as some perhaps felt, that the passing of one into another sphere of action, was a disaster. Such a change had been decreed from the beginning. There were periods in the lives of people that were highly important and one was the preparation for the entrance upon this sphere of action and to discharge certain duties so as to gain for themselves exaltation in the kingdom of God. President Woodruff had fulfilled his calling. His sojourn here upon earth had been as near perfection as it was possible for mankind to make it so. It was the duty of every individual to do all they could to rectify the mistakes prone to humanity. All were born subject to error and therefore perfection could not be expected of human family. But it was possible for mankind to so order their lives as to gain for themselves an exaltation in the kingdom of God, and be proud of the record made, when they were called into another world, President Woodruff had had such an object in view from his early manhood. He had become acquainted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and sought to live a life such as would entitle him to all the blessings in store for the faithful. This was a satisfaction to his family as he had left behind him an example that to follow after, would make of them honored and useful instruments in the hands of God.
President Snow spoke of the vacancy in the Presidency caused by the death of President Woodruff. Many people said he had been led to wonder and imagine how the affairs of the Church were to be carried on. The Gospel in its completeness, said the speaker, made provision for these changes. The work would roll on uninterruptedly as it had done, succeeding the death of Prophet Joseph Smith, and those of Presidents Brigham Young and John Taylor. On the death of the President of the Church, the responsibility fell upon the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and so it was on this occasion and ever it would be. The Quorum of Apostles, said President Snow, was never as able to handle such a responsibility as it was at the present time. It was fully organized and the brethren were in perfect union and accord with each other, and faithful and devoted to the trust reposed in them. Presidents Cannon and Smith were men of God, full of faith and devotion to the cause and their work in rolling on in the kingdom would be greatly appreciated and felt. There was no danger as to the outcome of the work of God. It had been established for a purpose and that purpose would be accomplished, and the Church progress and increase in the earth no matter how many of the authorities were called to another sphere.
ELDER FRANKLIN D. RICHARDS
Elder Franklin D. Richards of the Council of the Apostles, followed. So far as one man could enter into the feelings of another, he felt to adopt as his own the words of his brethren regarding the greatness and goodness of our late President. He spoke of the first time he met Wilford Woodruff, and stated that he was impressed very strongly with the directness and simplicity of his character, and his perfect guilelessness. He had been a great exemplar of the work in which he had been engaged, in his implicit obedience to the dictates of the Spirit. This had been one of the great features of his life. Another had been the keeping of a diary of his actions and the history of the Church, from his first connection with it to the day before his death, which would be most valuable as a compendium of the progress of the work. Elder Richards urged the Elders to follow the example of President Woodruff in this regard. His healing power had been strongly manifested on many occasions, one striking instance being related by the speaker.
Although at the death of the three former Presidents, not all the Apostles had been permitted to be present, yet on this occasion, the speaker was pleased to announce, all the members of the Quorum were present.
President Woodruff’s enemies had been led to become his friends. He had assisted in the building and dedication of Temples, and established an honorable family in the earth and had performed great missionary labors in different parts of the world. He had been a mighty fisher of men bringing into the Church almost 2,000 persons. He and Herber C. Kimball had established the greatest records in this respect, in the Church. The speaker closed expressing the hope that the Saints would emulate the worthy example of the departed, and that their works might be as honorable and their end as blessed as his.
PRESIDENT GEORGE Q. CANNON
President George Q. Cannon began his remarks by reading a portion of the 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenants concerning the resurrection of the just. In standing up to address the Saints, said he, it was only because he knew he would have the faith and prayers of those assembled. In the passing of President Woodruff, a man had gone from our midst whose character was probably as angelical as that of any person who had ever lived upon the earth. We shall ever miss him, said President Cannon. His family will ever miss him, as to them he was the all in all, an honored and respected husband and father.
In the death of such men, said President Cannon, it was a consolation to know that they left behind them the keys of the Priesthood which they held, thus permitting the rolling on of the work of God. President Woodruff was an unassuming man, very unaffected and childlike in his demeanor. He did no man an injury, nor was he too proud, even in his Apostolic calling, to toil as other men toiled. His traits and characteristics were ennobling, and so energetic was he that nothing was too burdensome for him even in his advanced years.
President Cannon felt that too much could not be said in praise of President Woodruff. He was of a sweet disposition and possessed a character so lovely as to draw unto him friends in every walk of life. He would no more do a wrong than he would commit suicide. He was straightforward in all his dealings with his fellow man, and never shirked an obligation. He was free, sociable and amiable in every respect. No jealousy lurked in his bosom. He looked upon all mankind as his equals and was one who cherished the most profound respect for all with whom he associated. He was gentle as a woman, and his purity was like into that of the angels themselves. In spite of his high and holy calling, he displayed no dignity, was unpretentious, unassuming and his character and life were as transparent as glass. He hid nothing from his brethren, but was candid, outspoken and free to all.
President Cannon spoke of a remark made by President Woodruff some time ago. In his office one morning he remarked, “I’m growing old,” the statement being occasioned through the greater ability of a strong, wiry grandson in hoeing potatoes. So industrious was President Woodruff that he felt he was growing old because those stronger and younger could outdo him in cultivating the garden. President Woodruff labored freely and gratuitously in the ministry. With him it was a labor of love, his only hope of reward being in the hereafter when he would be called upon to give an account of his stewardship. For years he lived on his 20-acre farm and took pleasure in beautifying his surroundings and wresting from the earth the elements to sustain life. He was a great correspondent, and his children and grandchildren loved to write to him. He kept a complete account of his life’s doings, and even up to the day he was stricken down, his journal told of his work of the day before.
In the ministry, said President Cannon, President Woodruff had accomplished a great deal. He had traveled thousands of miles, preached the Gospel to thousands of people, and succeeded in bringing a great many into the Church. He had left behind him a monument of good that time could not efface or obliterate. His was a life well spent, fraught with good deeds, actuated by a noble purpose.
President Cannon referred to the last days of President Woodruff on the earth. He was pleasant and cheerful to the end. With the speaker he attended a banquet given by the Bohemian Club of San Francisco to one of its members. At it he was asked to speak and did so. This was on Saturday, the 27th inst. On Sunday he attended meeting in San Francisco, and Monday went out riding. Tuesday and Wednesday he spent writing, and on Thursday the fatal attack came on, which ended in his death on Friday morning. His end was calm and peaceful. He passed away as one sleeping.
Referring to the death of President Woodruff away from home, President Cannon stated that it was his desire to go away. He was so concerned in the speaker’s health that he thought such an outing was necessary. He himself had been benefited previously in going to the seacoast and it was his desire to accompany President Cannon on this occasion. His passing away, though quite unexpected, was a gradual sinking into an eternal sleep.
President Woodruff was a man of God. He had finished the fight and had been called hence to mingle with his brethren, and to receive his well-earned reward. He was a heavenly being. It was heaven to be in his company, and his departure from this sphere of action, robs the community of a great and good man, and one who fully merited all the blessings promised to those who remain true and steadfast unto the end. The speaker had been privileged to witness the departure from earth of Presidents Young and Taylor. They, too, were righteous men, entitled to a full bestowal of heavenly blessings.
Concluding, President Cannon invoked the blessings of God upon the Twelve Apostles and upon all who held responsible positions in the Church, that their lives might be fraught with good deeds, and noble examples such as those characterizing the life and labors of President Wilford Woodruff.
The choir sang President Woodruff’s favorite hymn, God moves in a mysterious way.
The closing prayer was offered by Elder Brigham Youns of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the immense audience dispersed to take up their places in the order of procession, the congregation marching out in order to a selection on the organ by Prof. J. J. Daynes.
THE FUNERAL CORTEGE STARTS
Moved Slowly Eastward on South Temple Which Was Filled With Humanity
The ceremonies in the Tabernacle ended, the great audience filed out into the street and, diverging in all directions, a vast host, mingling with those who had lingered outside, sought their carriages and other conveyances ready to fall into line when the procession to the grave should be formed. Thousands thronged the streets in anticipation of witnessing the departure, and yet everything was orderly and all arrangements skillfully carried out. The marshal of the day, with his numerous efficient aids and the detachment of police, rendered signal service in executing the plans so peacefully arranged. Hundreds of conveyances lined the adjacent streets and were brought up in line in seemly order, and, in fact, everything attested the prevalent reverence in which the occasion was held, so that nothing might occur to mar or delay the marshalling of order out of seeming chaos. The services in the Tabernacle being finished at 1:30, the formation of the procession was begun on the west and north sides of the Temple square, and at 1:45 p.m. the order was given to advance on the way to the beloved President’s last resting place. Slowly and impressively the journey to the grave was begun.
As the procession passed into public view, many an eye became dim with tears and a last farewell was breathed from many a life-time friend and brother pioneer. Thousands stood with uncovered head as all that remained of him whose life and work had crystallized into the brightest gem of immortal setting has passed them by, and yet thousands more made up the cavalcade and retinue which followed at the shrine of death. This was the order formed and maintained on the way to the grave:
ORDER OF PROCESSION
1. Marshall of the day and Aides.
2. Held’s bands.
3. Harmony Glee club.
7. Carriages one to twelve inclusive - family.
8. Carriages thirteen to eighteen inclusive, General Church Authorities.
9. Ogden band.
10. Presidents of Stakes and councilors.
11. General organization Relief Societies.
12. Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement associations.
13. Young Men’s Mutual Improvement associations.
14. Deseret Sunday School Union.
15. Primary associations.
16. Church Board of Education.
17. Faculty and students of Brigham Young academy and representatives of different Church colleges and academies.
18. First Regimental band and Utah National Guard.
19. State and city officials.
20. General public.
THE LINE OF MARCH
Consignment of the Remains to Mother Earth - Dedication of the Grave
The line of march all along South Temple street was densely packed with a mass of humanity as far as M street, and from there to the cemetery people were out in hundreds waiting the approach of the procession. Thousands of people also accompanied the remains of the dead Prophet to the place of interment, and it was a spectacle long to be remembered. “The Dead March in Saul,” by Held’s band, and other funeral dirges, were played, while the Ogden and First Regimental bands discoursed their sweet, sad music all the way. A wave of harmony rolled down the line from beginning to end, and surely it must have risen as sweet incense to the sphered above. Slowly and stately the procession moved on its solemn way, and when the cemetery was reached a great concourse of people was already there. The various organizations and representative bodies disbanded at the gates of the cemetery and the simple white hearse bearing the remains of the departed leader was driven to the side of the grave, where it was followed by the private carriages of the members of the deceased’s family and the general authorities of the Church. At 2:45 p.m. the casket was taken from the hearse and carried by the pall-bearers to the grave into which it was consigned while all the people stood with uncovered heads. Countless flowers in bouquets and designs of exquisite beauty were held upon the sward by sorrowing friends, and when all was ready the members of the President’s family and other friends gently laid some floral tokens upon the departed’s bier in last farewell. Then the authorities of the Church, who had gathered on the northwest corner of the plot of ground signified that the final ceremonies begin, and the Harmony Glee club sang with exquisite pathos and tenderness the selection: “Not Dead but Sleepeth.” President Cannon then called upon Apostle F. M. Lyman to offer dedicatory prayer.
In opening his invocation Apostle Lyman asked that grace and strength be vouchsafed to those who were bereaved, to bear up under the burden of grief their loss had entailed and asked the blessings of the Almighty upon the duty which had devolved upon him in dedicating the last resting place of him who for so many years had been identified with the work of the Lord in the earth. He prayed that President Woodruff’s life and record might stand as an example to the hosts of Israel throughout the world, one would they would emulate if possible, and further asked that the widows and children might be comforted in the knowledge that their beloved father had gone to a glorious reward. It was his desire that the Almighty bless the ground where so many had tender hopes and affection laid away, that it would ever be sacred and holy to the people. He prayed for the prosperity of the work of building up Zion in the earth; for the blessings of the Lord to rest upon the Church and the authorities upon whom its guidance would now devolve upon, and in conclusion asked that the dedication might be accepted of the Almighty in the name of Jesus Christ.
At the close of the prayer, flowers were laid upon the grave by loving hands, and the vast concourse of people dispersed to their homes and various pursuits, feeling that this day would be accounted, while time and memory should last, as one of the most notable in the present dispensation, and would be hallowed forever.
WHERE THE GRAVE IS
In The Western Part of the City Cemetery Near That of the Late Erastus Snow
The place where the body of President Woodruff will rest until the day the grave shall give up its dead, is situated near the original entrance at the old stone gate through the antiquated wall that formed the western side. The seventh cemetery avenue forms the northern boundary of the plot, which lies about seventy-five yards from the old stone wall. On the south is the plot of the late Apostle Erastus Snow, whose monument, entwined with honeysuckle, towers over the new made grave. Over on the hill a stone’s throw distance, the granite shaft that marks the resting place of the late President John Taylor, points silently towards heaven. Just to the west, across the drive, is the Noble plot, where rests Lucien Noble, who was born the same year as President Woodruff was, and who, too, lived to a great age, dying in 1891. President Woodruff’s grave is in the extreme southeastern corner of the plot, and is made alongside of his wife, the late Phebe Carter Woodruff. Just across is the Snow plot on the south, rest the bodies of two children. The Woodruff plot is simple and plain; a substantial stone wall raises it above the drive and simply the close shaven grass covers it over. The open grave this morning was dug into the hard soil of the mountain which was as solid in its formation as the character of the man whose body it was to contain, only a few planks were placed to keep the loose earth form falling in, and a plain box of white wood at the bottom to contain the casket. Nothing about the grave was intended for ornament or show; all was plain and substantial as the dead President wished it to be. From the grave where he rests there is a fine view of the city he helped to found, and the valley stretched away to the south in its beauty until shut in from the sight by the September haze. Around him rests those who fought the battle of life with him but who laid the burden down, wearied before the load fell from his own shoulders and who will welcome him in death as they honored him in life.
LAID TO REST
Today, September 8, the remains of President Wilford Woodruff were laid to rest, followed by a vast concourse of citizens, of every age and social standing, of different political affiliations and religious beliefs, from all parts of the State. And they were drawn together, not by a desire to witness a gorgeous display or pompous ceremonies; for they all knew that the funeral rites of the Church are in full harmony with the sublime simplicity of the Gospel and that the memory of the departed could best be honored by making the last solemn services simple, as his entire life has been free from ostentation. They gathered because they loved and esteemed President Woodruff, “Wilford the faithful.” Very seldom it falls to the lot of mortal man to occupy exalted positions and yet retain the good will of all. But such was the honesty, integrity, faithfulness and personal worth of the departed Prophet, Pioneer and leader that of him it was often said that he had no enemies. No wonder, then, that a vast multitude should gather to pay their last respects to him.
President Wilford Woodruff belonged to the little band of martyr-crowned Pioneers to which the nation some day will acknowledge its indebtedness. He was one of the heroes who crossed the western border of civilization and fearlessly marched a thousand miles into the wilds of the American deserts, planting the standard of freedom in the mountain valleys. He and his companions demonstrated to the world the possibilities of a region as large as an empire and which but for their efforts would have remained, who knows how long? - the “great American desert.” Very few of the present generation realize what hardships these early empire builders suffered, while everything needed for existence had to be wrested from a seemingly unfriendly nature. But few can form an idea of the nature of faith that sustained them day by day in their efforts to redeem this country. But the results of their prayers, their faith, their labors, are now before the world. Wilford Woodruff was one of the chiefs in the struggle carried on here in these valleys in the interest of civilization, and as such he is entitled to recognition in the history of the American Republic.
Among the Latter-day Saints Wilford Woodruff has of late years occupied a distinguished position. He was the last living of the Apostles that were ordained to that exalted office in the days of Joseph, the Prophet. In this respect he was a link between the generation that witnessed the rise of the Church in this dispensation and another generation, which will very soon know the Prophet of God and his associates only from history. He was the Apostle John of this age. There are others in the midst of the Saints who like Wilford Woodruff were personally acquainted with the Prophet Joseph, and whose presence among them is esteemed precious on account of their long, faithful services in the Church of God; but their circle is becoming narrower every year, and their activity will before long be in another sphere. In one sense their places among the Saints can not be filled. Hence it is with intense feelings that their departure, one by one, is watched by those who remain to continue the labor they so well commenced.
It is a comforting thought, though, that the Church in this dispensation has been given back to the earth never again to be overcome by the adversary. The Lord Himself has placed all the safeguards needed around the Church for its perpetuation. It was not thus in the age following that of the first Apostles of Jesus. The early fathers had great disadvantages to overcome and were favored with but few advantages comparatively. Many of them were converted from paganism and had their minds filled with the notions of the various philosophical schools. They were crouching under a load of fables and false philosophy which they were never fully able to throw off. Very often in their controversies with the assailants of Christianity they drew from heathen philosophy the materials for their replies, instead of from that inspiration which had guided the Apostles. Their ignorance of the Bible is most conspicuous. Some of them rejected books now received as genuine and accepted spurious documents in their stead. Their method of interpretation was often no more than a mystic allegorizing by which the Scriptures were made to teach anything the imagination of the expounder might happen to see in it. Then persecution carried off the best men of the age, leaving the burden of shoulders not always strong enough for the task. All these causes, and others, operated against the preservation of the primitive Church from error and resulted in the course of time in the removal of “the child to the throne of God.”
In this age all is different. The priesthood with all its keys and ordinances and powers remain with the Church. A faithful record has been kept and is accessible. The Spirit of revelation remains, a true light in the darkness. So, while the Saints with the feeling of deep sorrow bid farewell to their leaders, as they depart from them, they at the same time know that the work of the Lord is progressing both on earth and in heaven. With gratitude to the Almighty for the wonderful work accomplished by President Wilford Woodruff and for the assurance they have that it is an everlasting one, they bid him farewell. May the reunion with Saints above be glorious and the rest of the body sweet until the morning of resurrection!
THE DISTINGUISHED DEAD
All truely great men are devoid of ostentation and affection. They realize intuitively, and the realization grown with observation, that man in his best estate is a frail creature, subject at all times to perils, pains and strifed, wither of which may cut short the tenuous fabric which we recognize as life; that at the most existence in the mortal estate is a narrow span, and its best aspect is troublous and crowded with responsibilities, some of these of such great moment that we have not “imagination to give them (previous) shape, thoughts to give them scope, or time to act in them.” They feel also that earthly honors and rewards, gratifying and it may be pleasurable for the time, are after all but like the product of the chrysalis - beautiful when floating majestically through the air, but its wings soon falter, then droop, then decay, after which dissolution and a return to the worm which first produced it. Thus considering, the superior creations among our race make a definitive study of mortality, and reasoning from cause to effect, become possessed of the knowledge that we are here for some other purpose than such that can be rounded out and finished in this sphere; that all our gifts and all the favors of fortune which we have inherited or acquired, are simply so many aids towards acquiring knowledge of and for a condition of life where all things exist in a state of perfection, where there is no ending og the “good, the beautiful and the true,” and such honors and rewards as may befall here are honorable and admirable only as they tend to make the possessor wiser and better and to make those around and about him happier and higher and holier. It is not that places of trust and profit are despised or that the applause of admiring throngs is ignored; vastly otherwise. These are appreciated as their true worth, not regarded as incentives to vain glorious actions or self-sufficient thoughts.
Looking upon this life in this way there can be none of the objectionable qualities apparent that are first herein spoken of. A lofty position carries with it an additional appreciation of the responsibilities of life and an enlarged sense of kindliness towards the givers and the Giver of givers, all inculating humanity, philanthropy and honesty. Such a man was plain, humble, earnest, straightforward, man-loving, God-worshiping Wilford Woodruff. From a humble origin he advanced to the zenith of his earthly hopes, the capstone of all honors which the world could possibly contain for him; but in lowly and exalted station he always and everywhere kept the people of whom he was a part in steadfast and loving remembrance and was never an enemy even to his enemies. He was not a warrior as the world understands that word, and yet he waged unceasing, relentless, untiring warfare against sin and vice in all their forms and abstained from personally or invidiousness in all his campaigns save and except as relates to the author of sin and vice and his agents. President Woodruff was the incarnation of honesty in all walks of life, and he was filled with that feeling toward even transgressors that, “like the gentle dew from heaven falls upon the place beneath and is twice blessed, blessing him that gives and him that takes.” Like the murdered President Abraham Lincoln - whom he resembled in several respects - he believed in “charity for all, malice toward none, and with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.”
Everybody hereabout remembers a year ago last March, when the birthday celebration was held in the Tabernacle. It was observed by all who were within reach. People of all ages, sexes and conditions in life, of all shades of opinion and belief and representatives of many nations thronged the great structure, each paying a tribute of respect by his presence to the venerable and venerated man in whose honor the services were held. At the close there was a unanimous and spontaneous desire to reach him, to shake his hand and say a few words of congratulations. A great many were able to do so, but not all. Some of those who were thus favored, realizing the extreme age at which the honored hose as well as guest of the multitude had arrived felt that it might be the last time and gave as much emphasis to the greeting as was permissible, accompanied with a few kind and caused those who were previously not intimate to feel as though all at once they had become as well acquainted with the man and his disposition as though there had been a close and unbroken acquaintance for years. It was his way. And those who came but to be formally respectful in many cases went away with a feeling of profound regard for the veteran of four-score and ten who had passed through so many trials and hardships and still retained an unclouded mentality, a physical vigor impaired but little, and all the affability and kindliness of the true gentleman of the days gone by.
He has gone to his rest, to his reward, to happiness boundless and glory without measure. He lived for it and he lived for us, with the hope that his teachings, his faith and his prayers might contribute toward making men and women better whether they were good or bad. May his memory be ever green and his goodness and greatness never disappear from the minds and hearts of the children of Omnipotence!
Martin Luther is dead but the Reformation lives. John Knox is dead, Scotland still has a Sabbath, a Bible and the schools. Bunyan is dead, but he still lives in his Pilgrim’s Progress. Elliot is dead, but the missionary spirituous still on the earth. Raikes is dead, but the Sunday schools still go on. Joseph and Brigham and John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff are dead, but their work for the salvation of mankind lives and will, live forever.