David King Udall Prison Journal, Detroit, Michigan
(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 in
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.
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
29th of Aug 1885 at 6 AM, I left
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
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
Nothing of special
note took place on the journey.
We arrived at
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.
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,
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
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
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
(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
I took a second class
ticket and arrived in
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
Friday, 18 Dec 1885
I sent telegraphic
messages of my pardon to my family and friends in
Saturday, 19 Dec 1885
I arrived in
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