Sunday, October 11, 2015

from Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck's 1875-1883 journal . . .

… then I went to my sewing

Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck’s  first journal entry is dated
 February 23rd, 1875

It isn’t clear why Elizabeth started her journal then or if she’d been a journal keeper earlier in her life. The recent discovery and transcription of her journal for 1875 to 1883 is miraculous and it’s important for this descendant to learn some life lessons from the writings she left.

Elizabeth had been in the Salt Lake Valley since October 2, 1856 when she and her family arrived from Springfield, Illinois with the John Banks Company.  She’d been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since her April 6, 1841 Nauvoo, Illinois baptism. In 1854 missionaries found her and her family among the “lost sheep” of Springfield, Illinois where they taught them the truth about baptism and the principle of polygamy. Elizabeth was baptized again and she and her family prepared to immigrate to Salt Lake.

She was an early member of the Salt Lake Seventeenth Ward where she’d been called to be an “assistant to the 6th block” the night their Relief Society was organized in 1868.  It was a calling she served in all seriousness and magnified in every sense of the word. Nine times during her less than consistent journal entries she mentioned “went around the block, visited around the block, etc.”

May, 13, 1875 went around the block in the four noon and attended the society in the afternoon had the head ack
Wednesday 41th [14th], 1877 after breckfast I went to the store bot sum bedticking and fthers [feathers]   in the after noon I maid four pilows and eaight slips   I visited around the block
March 16, 1880, went around the block and found the people very glad to see me
During the first two years of the journal her entries about a dear friend Sister Harriett White jumped out at me. They were filled with testimony and light and illuminated their heartfelt love for one another.

1875, Tuesday 2nd attended to the work in the morning then I went to see how Sister White was giting along
Harriet Prosser White [1819-1877] and John White [1808-1885] also lived in the Seventeenth Ward. It’s unclear if they were part of Elizabeth’s 6th block district. They were definitely very dear friends.

March, 1875 Wednesday, 10th don sum sewing spent about all the day with Sister White  she told me many things about the poverty she had past threw in England but that she had allways felt her trustinGod and he ben her friend
This brief account of Elizabeth's association with Sister Harriett White will be continued and appear in four parts. Links will follow here after they are posted: part 2, part 3, conclusion.

Elizabeth's journal is as she wrote it. We did not add any capitalization or punctuation, nor did we change any of her spelling. Some clarification is included in brackets.

(To be continued.)


  1. Thoroughly enjoy the journal. Geraldine and I have been reading parts to each other. Don't know if Gary and Bob are listening or not. I took Geraldine to the airport this morning. Gary is doing well and will be here for 6 more weeks. I too have wondered about Elizabeth's friends she mentions frequently.

  2. Thanks for your comments Flora Lee. So good to know you and Geraldine enjoyed reading Elizabeth's journal entries together, and that she is safely headed home. My favorite part about conference weekend was the time Geraldine was here visiting with me. Who'd have guessed I'd have that pleasure.