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David King Udall Prison Journal, Detroit, Michigan

6 Dec - 23 Dec 1885

(describes events from 29 Aug 1885 to 23 Dec 1885)

Understanding of some sections is enhanced by detail added in reconstructed version of 1932.  In such cases, I have excerpted that later version, putting it in italics.  Unclear words and guesses are identified by question marks.



1932 Reconstructed Journal Introduction

The following was written while I was in the Yavapai jail inPrescott and the Detroit House of Correction in Michigan, August to December 1885.  The Prescott journal was written in a small diary 3x15 inches.

Prison rules in Detroit were rigid.  All mail was censored both coming in and out.  It was contrary to prison rules to keep a journal, but I presumed to open up the envelopes of mail received and wrote some of the happenings and thoughts of those trying days on the inside of them.  These I brought out with my own letters. 

Sunday, 6 Dec 1885

On the 29th of Aug 1885 at 6 AM, I left Prescott, Arizona for the House of Correction, Detroit, Michigan.  In charge of Deputy Marshals Bert Foster, A. E. Foot (clerk of the Third District Court and son-in-law to Judge Sumner Howard), and a Mr. Hickey, having in charge one other prisoner by the name of Charles Sterling, convicted for forgery and sentenced for 3 years at the same place as myself.  Before starting we took breakfast at a restaurant guarded by four officers with shotguns and pistols and a bulldog.  Many were on the street at that early hour to see us go.  To my ____, Bro. H. B. Clawson met me before getting on the __________ prior to starting.  He encourag______ exceedingly and then he went as far as Ashfork on another stage the same day, on every opportunity during the day he would be with me.  He was I felt the only friend I had for many miles away.  Arrived at Ashfork 7 PM, it being 60 miles from Prescott.  Bro. Clawson left on 10 PM westbound train after leaving his blessing with me.  His visit has been very encouraging to me.  I feel that he came to represent the brethren in the Priesthood ___ ___in to my trial etc.  We _________Cottage Hotel.  On____

1932 Reconstruction:

Bro. H. B. Clawson met me but they refused to let us ride on the same coach, so he went as far as Ashfork on the same day in another coach.  During the day he was with me every opportunity, and I felt as though he were my only friend for miles around.  I arrived at Ashford at 7 PM.  Bro. Clawson left at 10 PM on the westbound train after leaving me his blessings.  His visit has been very encouraging.  I feel he came to represent the brethren in the Priesthood to investigate my trial.  We stayed at the Cottage Hotel and in the morning of the 30th we boarded the train for Detroit, Michigan.  At Navajo Springs I met Bro. Joseph Crosby and received a package of books and underwear from my family.

I also received a package of books and underclothes from my family.  It was more than I could do to contain my feelings to have the officers break open the package and examine my clothes and books.  The thoughts of wives and children and home with friends as well as the many indignities I had to endure was almost unbearable.  Then this station is where we get off to go to St. Johns!

Nothing of special note took place on the journey.  We arrived at Detroit 11:30 PM on 2nd Sept.  We had a stateroom in a Pullman Sleeper, (1932 reconstruction: by me paying my share of the bill) it was a little crowded but still comfortable as I could be under the circumstances.  We traveled over the A & P as far as Albuquerque, A. T. & Santa Fe to Kansas City, C. B. I. to Chicago, and over the Michigan Central to Detroit.  I was interviewed by a news reporter in Kansas City.  He wanted to know if I was a practicing polygamist.  I declined to answer one way or the other, which he took in good part.  The officers used a great deal of liquor, and Mr. Foot got quite boozy a few times.  They urged me to drink but of course I declined.  They seemed to desire to make it as comfortable for me as they could, and said if it was not for Sterling they would extend more liberties to me.  My humiliations were almost unbearable.  I was required and did sleep with Mr. Charles Sterling in the upper berth.  Sterling is a low down fellow – drinks, swears, and an admitted whoremonger.  He was serving out a two year sentence for grand larceny when he was tried for counterfeiting.  The feeling was horrid to sleep with such a man who wore no underclothes and was guilty of such great crimes and probably a great many more.

My letters that I wrote were scanned by the officers when I went to the Car for a drink of water.  An officer allowed there was a frequent display of pistols and shotguns and handcuffs for scaring us and the people at the station.

At the station we were met by Mr. S. Sullivan the hall master, and we were turned over to him by the officers.  He handcuffed me to Mr. Sterling (this is the first time I ever had irons on) and had us get into a light rig, and we were driven very rapidly for about a mile to the House of Correction.  We parted with the officers at the station.  A driver and Mr. Sullivan brought us to the prison.  On arrival at the prison Sullivan rang the bell and we were admitted and passed the guard into a small room where I gave my name, age etc., being searched and weighed.  After this I was urged to take off my shoes, then I was taken to a large hall from 175 to 200 feet long, 50 feet wide, ceiling about 32 feet, with 200 cells north from south east, and the cells are 4 deep, the doors open to face 7 windows on each side of the hall.  The cells are 4 x 7 feet and 7 feet high with one large rock for floor and ceiling with ventilation to a flue running to the top of the building, with heavy iron barred doors.  There are two more halls like this one, this being the west one.  The east one is for the ladies.

I was put in cell 170 the first night, which was very obnoxious to me, it seemed so unclean, rock floor, dirty tick mattress and blankets etc.  Next morning my breakfast was brought to me, but I could not eat much.  My heart was too near my mouth.

About 9 AM on the morning 3 Sep 1885 I was taken to the basement, shaved and shingled, also I stripped and took a bath, then I was given back my garments and dressed in a heavy hickory shirt, Kentucky jeans, coat and pants, likewise a jeans cap.  Also brogan shoes and cotton socks.  All appeared to be new, from here.

I was taken to Shop D., where Bro. Peter J. Christofferrson works.  Bro. Ammon Mesach Tenney works in Shop B. and Brother C. I. Kempe in Shop C.  I recognized Bro. Kempe and Christofferrson on sight but mistook another man for Ammon and did not know differently for about 3 weeks, when we were permitted to meet and converse.

The prisoners are not allowed to speak to each other.  I passed and repassed and went to Peter’s bench during this time, but never spoke to them.  When I went into the shop, the overseer took me in charge and had me stand by the side of his stand for 2 or 3 hours, as I supposed for the other prisoners to look at (which number some 30 in this shop).  The overseer stands on an elevated platform so he can see all over the shop.  No prisoner is permitted to leave his bench or machine without the permission of the overseer, this he obtains by holding up his hand – even to go to the closet or to get a drink or anything.  My name was put in the shop book and I received some instructions from my overseer, Mr. Patrick Farrell.  Then the shop foreman took and put me to work at a cutoff saw machine and chuck machine with a half-Indian boy by the name of Bill (or William) Hamen, from the Indian Territory.

At 6 PM we went to our cells, my cell numbered 148.  I feel much better suited than in cell 170.  The fixtures of the cell are an iron bed made to fold up to the wall, mattress and blankets, and pillow and sheet which are washed every week.  Wash dish, towel, chair, looking glass, comb, whatnot for books etc, and a carpet on the floor.  Cell is 4 x 7 feet with a 7 foot ceiling.  I feel quite pleased with my new quarters.

The regulations and rules are as follows: at the tap of a gong 3 times at 5:30 AM get up to dress, wash etc.  At 6 AM 2 taps of the gong to prepare for breakfast, 6:30 AM one tap of the gong to go to breakfast, which we eat upstairs. 7 AM go to work, taking with us our night pails, which are iron kettles.  We walk lines of about 50 with hand on the shoulder of the ahead of you and being required to walk as close as possible, which is very humiliating.  Work 5 hours in the morning, then when the whistle blows we wash and put on coats.  Whistle blows again, we form in line; whistle blows again, we march to the cells as we left them.  Then we are locked in the cell half an hour.  Gong taps and we go to dinner, then to work shop at 1 PM, and at 6 PM the same routine as at noon and we return to the cells.

This is the daily routine, except Sunday, when we go to the dining room as at other days, but usually we go to Sunday services 9 AM, Bible class at 3 PM.  When we come from work at nights we get a piece of bread at the door and eat it in the cells with coffee or water, and I use water which makes it quite weak for a hard laboring man.  At 15 minutes to 9 PM all are required to be in bed; the utmost silence reigns all the time, only when the turnkeys are locking up. 

I had nothing to read for some three weeks after arriving, was very lonely and the work hard for me.  Wm Hanson died of lockjaw brought on through an injury on the saw, cutting his thumb.  This is the second man killed through injuries received from my machine.  My foreman John is quite sharp and unfeeling, which is very ____.

The prisoners are not allowed to talk to one another.  The silent system prevails.  I have felt very much tried, but my faith is that the Lord will give me grace and patience.  On the third Sunday after my arrival I was permitted to see and converse with Bro. Ammon Mesach Tenney, C. I. Kempe, and J. Christofferrson who have been confined here for nearly a year.  The meeting was a pleasant one, the joy that the Latter-day Saints understand under their circumstances.  The same day councilor John W. Young of Salt Lake City called to see us and cheered our hearts.

One week from the following Monday Bro. J. S. Summerhays of Salt Lake City called on us, and offered many words of kindness, and had some fruit and honey sent us on the Saturday nigh following his visit.  The deputy had Bro. Tenney and I put together in one cell.  This we are very thankful for, it is such company that we fully appreciate it.

On the 1st of October my dear little Mary died, and I received word of it by telegram from my brother Joseph.  My heart sunk within me at this sad news.  The poor little sufferer; the same night of her death I dreamed of her, that I was with her and playing with her.  I thought she was so beautiful and heavenly.

The names of the officers of the prison when I arrived were Capt. Joseph Nicholson superintendent; Mr. Fitzgerald, deputy; Mr. S. Sullivan, hall master; Mr. Patrick Farrell, overseer of Shop D where I work; Mr. R. A. Twitchell, general foreman; Mr. John Mackley, foreman of Shop D.  Some two weeks after I arrived Mr. Henry Wolfer took Mr. Fitzgerald’s place as deputy. 

Bro. James Dwyer of Salt Lake City and a Mr. Dwyer of this city, President of the Michigan Stove and Manufacturing Co. called on us Oct 15.  We had a very pleasant visit.  He informed us that Apostle Albert Carrington had been cut off from the Church for adultery, which was a shock to us.  Bro. Dwyer sent us in some fruit etc. which we feel is very kind.  Mr. Dwyer invited us to call on him when we got out.  Bro. Kempe and Christofferrson were put in cell 102 adjoining ours on Oct 20th, which we consider a great act of kindness from the deputy, Bro. John W. Young called on us again Oct 19th.  He is very much interested in us.  He gave the deputy a Colorado agate paper cutter as a token of appreciation for the kindness he has shown us.  Bro. Young sent us in an assortment of jellies and fruits, enough to last us quite a length of time.  He encouraged us very much.  We feel that the visits of the brethren are like angels visits to us. 

On Oct 21st I received two letters from attorney F. S. Richards of Salt Lake City, then in Washington, D. C., stating that he called and seen the pardon clerk and that the petition letters etc. from Arizona – asking for a presidential pardon – had been received.  All was satisfactory, stating it was one of the plainest cases they had ever had, upon which a pardon could be granted.  Bro. Richards thought I would be pardoned at least by the last of this month. 

Ammon received news from his wife Ann on Oct 29 the Supreme Court of Arizona had granted a re-hearing of his and the other brethren’s cases in January next.

(page missing from original journal)

1932 Reconstructed Journal:

Mr. Foster, the deputy marshal who brought me here called on me on the 19th of October to inquire of me about the stock range in House Rock Valley and Kanab.

December 6th up to this time I have received many consoling and encouraging letters from my family and many friends, which have been a great strength to me.  How good it is to have true friends in these sad times of imprisonment and trouble.  I have had many sad and lonely hours since being imprisoned: my indebtedness, the scattered and poverty conditions of my family, and our ward,

and the death of our sweet little Mary, with the hard work and the many, many humiliations that we have had to endure.  I fully realize the necessity of divine aid to be able to endure these trials and I feel that the Lord has greatly blessed me, for which I truly thank him, and I pray for continual strength to endure this without murmuring or complaining.  We go to Bible class 3 PM Sundays and morning services at 9 o’clock nearly every Sunday in the chapel in the north wing of the prison over the four tiers of cells situated in that wing, which makes the chapel quite elevated.  The hospital joins the chapel.

We go to night school nearly every Thursday night, 6:30, where we study arithmetic and reading.  Prisoners teach the different classes under our general teacher.  In the first days of October, a young man by the name of Tom attempted to commit suicide by stabbing himself in the side with a knife, this transpired at his workbench a short distance from where I work.  One man had a fit, the same one broke his finger, another has been put in irons and I think in the dark cell twice, and there is no more notice taken of these things than though they were brutes.  A man had a fit at dinner one day, and Bro. C. I. Kempe had a bad spell of some kind at the same time.  (1932 Reconstruction: at the dinner table)  All such circumstances bring such evil bad feelings with them.  Dec 6th

Sunday, 13 Dec 1885

On the 10th inst. Br. R. T. Burton and son (the architect), with a gentile friend, visited us.  Bro. Burton exhibited very kindly feelings for us.  We thank the Lord for these visits.  It has been cold wintry weather this week.  Still, our cell and the shop are quite pleasant as they are heated up with steam.  My work has been as usual.  I have received many cheering letters this month.  On the 29th of October the deputy permitted me to write a special letter which I improved by writing to Ida.

On 12th inst. Ammon unthinkingly spoke to a fellow prisoner.  The overseer saw him and he was punished by being stood up before the Library for a few minutes.  This is very humiliating to him and us all.

Monday, 14 Dec 1885

Mr. Farrell our overseer left our shop today and Mr. Patrick Fitzpatrick (formerly overseer of Shop B) took his place.  I think it is a good change for us.  My foreman, John Mackley, is much kinder than formerly.

Tuesday, 15 Dec 1885

One of the two turners within 15 feet of my saw, by the name of Robinson, threw a chisel at the grand foreman R. A. Twitchell, our overseer Mr. Fitzpatrick, and then ran out of the shop to the hall where he smacked the large library windows & those in the small room with a chair leg.  He acted like he was crazy, but they say it is his wicked heart.  He was knocked down and put in isolating confinement.

Wednesday, 16 Dec 1885

Usual monotonous work.  My health is good.

Thursday, 17 Dec 1885  (probably written the morning of 18 Dec 1885)

This morning Mr. Wolfer, deputy, came and made known to me the cheering news that my presidential pardon had come.  I feel to thank and praise the Lord.  This was about 11 AM.  About 2 PM the deputy sent for me to come to the hall, where I was measured for a new suit of clothes, and the brethren were sent for and I conversed with them for about an hour.  I feel so sorry to have to leave them here.  I put on citizen clothes about 5 PM, and breathed the free air about 5:30.  I bought some fruit etc. for the brethren, visited Mr. Wolfer (friendly with him).  I borrowed $20 each from the brethren to come home with.  Superintendent J. Nicholson gave me $5 (also my suit of clothes and hat) and I had $12.50 of my own, making $77.50 in all.  The chief clerk of the House went with me to the depot.  My ticket to Albuquerque cost me $42.45.  I left Detroit by the 8 PM train for Chicago.  I praise the Lord for this deliverance.  What a great boon liberty is.  If my brethren could go with me I would feel perfectly happy, but to leave them it makes my heart ache.  When I went to prison I weighted 171 pounds, when I came out I weighted 181 pounds.

I took a second class ticket and arrived in Chicago at 7 AM on the 18th.  All night I could think of nothing else, only my brethren and the prison I had left behind.

The officers have treated me, and my brethren, with kindness considering the rigid rules.  I desired to visit (visit crossed out) look through the shops and prison before leaving, but it was not permissible on account of the rules.  I thank the Lord that I am released and my desire is to serve him faithfully in the future.  I feel the predictions of the Patriarch have been fulfilled wherein he said I would be tried like Joseph in Egypt, but the Lord remembered him and that he would remember me.  My health is better, if any difference, than it was when I went to prison.  The superintendent said the government would not pay my fare home unless I had been here 7 months.

Friday, 18 Dec 1885

I sent telegraphic messages of my pardon to my family and friends in Arizona and Utah, also to the Deseret News – three in all.  I also wrote letters to Bro. Ammon Mesach Tenney, Detroit, and Ida.  I come on the Michigan Central Railroad from Detroit, left Chicago today at 12:30 noon on the C. B. & I. for Kansas City.

Saturday, 19 Dec 1885

I arrived in Kansas City at 9 AM, what little sleep I got the two nights I have been on the road has been much disturbed by unpleasant dreams of my brethren and my prison life while in Detroit.  It is hard for me to write when the train is moving.

Left Kansas City 10:40 AM for Albuquerque on the A. F. (T.?) Santa Fe.

Undated entry

Arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico 4 AM on the 21st, remained there one day.  Agent of the A. & P. Railroad sold me a half rate ticket to Navajo for $6.45.  I left Albuquerque at 3 AM on the 22nd, arriving at Navajo Station 11:40 AM where I found my sister Eliza and my 1st Counselor Wm. H. Gibbons awaiting my arrival.  They had Bro. Simon Hanson’s team & John Murdock’s buggy.  Camped for the night 7 miles from Salt Lakes.  Arrived home St. Johns 4:30 PM on the 23rd.  My wife and several friends came to meet me two miles from town.  That evening I was given a saint-like reception in our Assembly Room.  I thank God for my freedom and that my life has been spared to return home.  I find my family well, but Ella much depressed by the death of our little Mary.  God bless us again and our family.















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