I am entering my 3rd and final week with two rare Mormon diaries. This is my first municipal inter-library loan experience. I just finished volume one of Juanita Brooks’ two-volume On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964). It is fitting that I would receive and read it now.
Kevin Barney, a while back, told me that municipal libraries frequently offer inter-library loan service. Not being affiliated with an institution and being far from a respectable Mormon Studies library has meant that I have had to invest in my own research materials. As I tend to like books, this is probably more of an indulgence than a sacrifice. However, there are some titles that are simply not available on the used book market or are currently out of my budget range. Next time I won’t order three books at once; three weeks for 1,400 pages of primary sources is a bit rushed.
Volume one of Stout’s diaries contains entries of post-martyrdom Nauvoo and the exodus west. Stout was in charge of police both in Nauvoo and in Winter Quarters and was a member of the Council of Fifty. His journal is a wonderful looking glass into the times and is a testament, not only to the Saints, but also to their peril.
Stout left Nauvoo with 6 children, including his namesake. While wending their way west, they all died and we have Stouts writings which he confesses dare not approach his true sorrow. Especially poignant is the administration to dying Hosea by the endowed men and women of the company. They managed to push the destroyer back only to have, as Stout writes, nature and the devil collude to take his life (pg. 170-171).
I received the books, including On the Mormon Frontier, immediately after reading the devastating Winter Quarters: The 1846-1848 Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards. The celebration of the pioneers didn’t figure much into Sunday’s worship services and outside of Utah, there is not government sponsored commemoration. Still, it is good to remember the price with which our foundation was purchased, the foundation that allows me the solemnity of reading their lives without suffering as they suffered.