Adapted from the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia.
Orson Ferguson Whitney was born in Salt Lake City, Sunday,
July 1, 1855. His father, Horace Kimball Whitney, one of the Utah pioneers,
was the eldest son of Newel Kimball Whitney,
the second presiding Bishop of the Church. His mother, Helen Mar Whitney,
was the eldest daughter of Heber Chase
Kimball, one of the original Twelve Apostles, and for many years a
member of the First Presidency. He was named for his uncle, Orson K. Whitney,
another of the Pioneers, and for his father's friend, James Ferguson.
"My earliest recollection," said Elder Whitney, "is
the move in the spring of 1858, just before Johnston's army passed through
Salt Lake City. I was not then three years old, but I distinctly remember
incidents of the journey to and the sojourn at Provo, where my father's
family resided until the general return north in the summer."
Bishop Whitney was educated in the common schools
of his native town and in the University of Deseret, now University of
Utah. Always fond of books, as a child he showed remarkable powers of memory
and of studious concentration. He excelled in reading, spelling, penmanship,
grammar and elocution, and at the University was considered the best declaimer
in the school. His artistic temperament prevented him from taking kindly
to mathematics, and his progress in figures was only fair.
As a lad of thirteen he worked on the construction
of the Union Pacific railroad, then being built from Green river west.
He was in the employ of his uncle David P. Kimball, a sub-contractor, whose
camp was successively on Sulphur creek, Yellow creek and Bear river. There
for the first time young Whitney saw rough life, but had no taste for it,
and passed through scenes of peril and wickedness unscathed. This was in
the summer and fall of 1868. He was from home three months and returned
with $150, the first money he had ever earned.
A year or two later he entered the University, but
at the close of the school year in 1871 temporarily quit the life of a
student and sought business employment. He was successively an express
driver, a clerk in a music store, and a sewing machine agent in southern
Utah and other parts. Then came a final year at the University (1873-4),
and a winter in Bingham canyon (1875-6), working for a mercantile firm.
While at the University, he with others organized the Wasatch Literary
Association, which had a very successful career. He was its first, and
four years later, its last president. He was also connected with the Delta
Phi and Zeta Gamma Debating societies, adjuncts of the University. He was
not much of a speaker at that time, however, nor had he developed as a
writer, though both gifts were latent within him.
Said the Bishop: "I was musically inclined, having
inherited that talent from both father and mother, and from the latter
also a poetic tendency. From my father came memory and love of books, also
strong predilections for the drama, of which he was one of Utah's earliest
representatives. I was always singing, whistling and declaiming; and as
a youth I mastered the flute, my father's instrument, without a teacher.
I also taught myself the guitar. This, however, as well as my flute practice,
was after learning the notes and taking a few lessons upon the organ from
Sister Lucy B. Young. I made my debut upon the dramatic stage about the
year 1872, though I had figured in many amateur performances prior to that
time. I was at once offered a place in the regular stock company of the
Salt Lake Theatre, but declined it out of deference to the wishes of my
Several years later I was preparing to follow the
dramatic profession when an event occurred that changed the current of
my thoughts and altered the whole course of my life. I was called upon
a mission to the United States. Up to this time I had bent most of my energies
in the direction of music and the drama, which I dearly loved. I had no
desire to be a writer or a public speaker, and did not dream that I could
make any mark either in literature or in oratory. Still less did I imagine
that I was destined to become a preacher of the gospel. As a child I was
religiously inclined, though I revolted to some extent against religious
discipline. I believed in God and the hereafter, and would pray more or
less regularly, especially if in trouble; but as a youth I became indifferent
to spiritual things, though at the same time I led a moral life. I had
a horror of unchastity, which I had been taught to believe was next in
heinousness to murder. Humorously inclined, fond of fun and amusement,
still I was generally serious, and sometimes melancholy. At the age of
eleven I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church; my uncle David
P. Kimball officiating; but I held no office in the priesthood until the
spring of 1873, when I was ordained an Elder by the late William J. Smith,
afterwards a patriarch in the Salt Lake Stake of Zion. This was preliminary
to passing through the Endowment House.
I had attained my twenty-first year, when, in October,
1876, I was called upon my first mission—the one mentioned. Though poorly
prepared to preach, I had faith enough to accept the call, and having been
ordained a Seventy, I departed for my field of labor. As an instance of
the overruling providence of God, I will state that my mother, finding
it impossible to dissuade me from going upon the stage, had promised me
that if she could sell a certain piece of land, she would let me have enough
money to take me to the city of New York, where I hoped to begin my theatrical
career. Every effort was made to dispose of the property, without avail;
but no sooner had I signified my intention to accept the call for a mission,
than the land was sold, and out of the proceeds my expenses were paid to
the State of Pennsylvania, my first ministerial field."
In Luzern and Lancaster counties Elder Whitney labored
for several months, most of the time in company with Elder A. Milton Musset,
who was a native of the Keystone State. During that period he visited the
city of Washington, at the invitation of Mr. James A. McKnight, an old
Salt Lake friend then residing at the nation's capital. He visited Mount
Vernon and other interesting points, which he afterwards described in letters
to the Salt Lake "Herald," spent an afternoon in the House of Representatives
by courtesy of Hon. George Q. Cannon,
Utah's delegate; and at the expiration of two weeks returned to Pennsylvania,
just before the inauguration of President Hayes. The spirit of his mission
was not yet thoroughly upon him, and he candidly confesses that he was
then more interested in his newspaper correspondence than in the labors
of the ministry.
About this time he had a remarkable dream, which
he thus relates: "I thought I was in the garden of Gethsemane, a witness
of the Savior's agony. I seemed to be standing behind a tree in the foreground
of the picture, from which point I could see without being seen. The Savior,
with the Apostles Peter, James and John, entered the garden through a little
wicket gate at my right, where he stationed them in a group, telling them
to pray. He then passed over to my left, but still in front of me, where
he knelt and prayed also. His face, which was towards me, streamed with
tears, as he besought the Father to let the cup pass, and added, 'not my
will but thine be done.' Having finished his prayer, he arose and crossed
to where the Apostles were kneeling fast asleep. He shook them gently,
they awoke and he reproved them for their apathy. Again he bade them pray,
and again crossed to his place and prayed, returning as before to find
them sleeping. This happened three times, until I was perfectly familiar
with his face, form and movements. He was much taller than ordinary men,
and though meek, far more dignified than any being I had ever beheld; and
he wore a look of ineffable tenderness and compassion, even while reproving
His disciples. My heart went out to him as never before to anybody or to
anything; I loved him with all my soul. I wept at seeing him weep, and
felt for him the deepest sympathy.
Then of a sudden the circumstances changed, though
the scene remained the same. Instead of before the crucifixion, it was
after. The Savior and the three Apostles, whom he had beckoned to him,
now stood in a group at the left, and were about to take their departure,
ascending into heaven. I could endure it no longer, but rushed out from
behind the tree, fell at his feet, clasped him around the knees and begged
him to take me also. With a look of infinite tenderness, as of a father
or an elder brother, he stooped, lifted me up and embraced me, saying as
he did so in the kindest and gentlest manner possible, while slowly shaking
his head and sweetly smiling, 'No, my son, these can go with me; for they
have finished their work; but you must stay and finish yours!' Still I
clung to him, and the contact was so real that I felt the warmth of his
bosom as I rested upon it. Gazing up into his face, I once more besought
him, 'Well, promise me that I will come to you at the last.' Again he smiled
sweetly, and there was a look as if he would have gladly granted my request
had it been wise to do so. He then said, 'That will depend entirely upon
yourself.' I awoke with a sob, and it was morning. This dream made a wonderful
impression upon me, paving the way to my thorough conversion, which soon
followed. Among the things it taught me was not to sleep at my post, and
to regard first the duties of my mission, and not allow anything to interfere
In the spring of 1877 Elder Whitney went alone to
northern Ohio, where he spent a year, preaching, baptizing, studying the
gospel and writing for the press. Though feeling weak, he put his trust
in God, and developed far more rapidly, now that he was alone, than he
did or could while having an experienced missionary as his companion. He
made marked improvement as a speaker and writer, grew in faith and knowledge
daily, and ere long the fulness of the gospel testimony came like a burst
of sunshine upon his soul. He knew he was engaged in the work of God, and
rejoiced exceedingly in that knowledge, which has never left him. A succession
of miraculous incidents attended his ministry, and he was instrumental
in converting a number of souls.
Honorably released from his mission, he returned
to Utah in the spring of 1878, arriving home on the first day of April.
He was at once offered a position on the staff of the "Salt Lake Herald,"
but declined it, partly because it involved night work, which he feared
his health, somewhat delicate at the time, would not permit, but mainly
because it would monopolize his Sabbaths, which he wished to devote entirely
to the service of God. His days of indifference to religion were over.
He had prayed fervently while away that he might never throw off the gospel
harness, as many missionaries had done, and as some predicted he would
do; but he had also prayed that he might never again be out of employment,
which had been the bane of some of his youthful years. It was a sacrifice,
therefore, to refuse the first offer of a situation that came to him after
his return, but he made that sacrifice for the gospel's sake, and about
two weeks later found himself employed in the business office of the Deseret
News, being placed there through the influence of Apostle Brigham
Young, Jr. one of the editors of the paper. Pres. Angus M. Cannon,
of the Salt Lake Stake, also kindly interested himself in his behalf.
In August he became city editor of the "News," succeeding
Elder John Nicholson, who was called to Europe on a mission. Meantime Elder
Whitney was made Bishop of the Eighteenth Ward, over which Elder Nicholson
had presided during an interim between the resignation of Bishop Lorenzo
D. Young and the appointment of a regular successor. Prior to that, he
had served a short while as a Ward teacher and as secretary of the Central
Committee of Y. M. M. I. A. His appointment to the Bishopric, on the evening
of July 14, 1878, came as a complete surprise. He was on his way to the
Ward meeting, then held in Pres. Brigham Young's old school house, inside
the Eagle Gate, when he met a friend, who invited him to go elsewhere.
"No," said Whitney, jocularly, "I must go to meeting; they are going to
put me in Bishop to-night;" and went on, little dreaming that such was
indeed the case. He had been told that a Bishop would be chosen that night,
but had no idea upon whom the choice would fall.
He was astounded when the president of the Stake,
addressing the people, said, "It is proposed that Orson F. Whitney be the
Bishop of the Eighteenth Ward." He was unanimously sustained, and after
expressing his willingness to accept the call, was ordained a High Priest
and set apart by Pres. Daniel H. Wells,
then acting as a counselor to the Twelve Apostles; Apostles George
Q. Cannon and Brigham Young, Jr.
assisting in the ordination. Bishop Whitney was but twenty-three years
of age and unmarried (an unheard of thing in a "Mormon" Bishop) and as
a parting shot the president of the Stake said humorously to the congregation:
"Paul says that a Bishop must be the husband of one wife; it is to be hoped
that Bishop Whitney will soon qualify." He was given as counselors Elders
Robert Patrick and William B. Barton, men of ability and experience, who
worked faithfully with him for the good of the Ward, which grew, during
his administration, from one of the weakest and smallest to be one of the
wealthiest and most populous Wards of the Stake.
In the winter of 1878-79 Bishop Whitney went on a
preaching tour through Cache valley; his first visit to that part; and
at Hyrum received his first patriarchal blessing under the hands of Father
O. N. Liljenquist, then Bishop of that place. He also made a very successful
canvass in the interests of the "Deseret News."
Bishop Whitney married, on Dec. 18, 1879, Miss Zina
Beal Smoot, a native of Salt Lake City, but from childhood, a resident of
Provo. She was a daughter of Pres. Abraham O. Smoot of Utah Stake. The
marriage ceremony was performed by Pres. Daniel H. Wells at the Endowment
House in Salt Lake City. Here the young couple took up their residence,
and here their first child, a son, was born, Oct. 27, 1880.
In February of that year the Bishop was elected to
the city council, representing the Fourth Precinct, composed of the Eighteenth,
Twentieth and Twenty-first ecclesiastical Wards. He was nominated without
his knowledge; the first he knew of it being when he read in the morning
paper the proceedings of the Municipal Convention of the People's Party,
held the evening before.
In October, 1881, he was called upon a mission to
Europe, to labor in the editorial department of the "Millennial Star,"
at the headquarters of the European Mission, 42 Islington, Liverpool. He
was given a farewell benefit by his colleagues of the Home Dramatic Club,
and left home on the 24th of October, sailing from New York on the S. S.
"Arizona," November 1st, and landing at Liverpool on the 10th. It being
desirable that he should have some acquaintance with the mission before
entering upon his editorial duties, he was assigned to the London conference
as a traveling Elder. In that great city he labored zealously until the
spring of 1882, preaching, baptizing, writing for the "Star," and corresponding
with the home papers.
He was then summoned to Liverpool, where he continued
in the ministry, while carrying on his regular work upon the "Star" and
"Journal of Discourses." He was at "42" for about a year—during the closing
part of Pres. Albert Carrington's last
administration and the fore-part of the administration of his successor,
President John Henry Smith. The latter,
early in 1883, finding that the Bishop's health was failing, through close
confinement to the office, gave him permission to travel at will through
the British Mission, and to begin his itinerary by presiding over the London
conference during the temporary absence of Pres. Joseph A. West, upon the
continent. While in London he saw and heard the great Gladstone in the
House of Commons, and caught glimpses of other celebrities, such as General
Lord Wolseley, Admiral Seymour and Henry Irving. While still there he was
apprised of the death of his second child, Heber Kimball Whitney, whom
he had never seen, the little one being born after he left home. Soon after
this he was honorably released to return. He had previously visited Wales
and various parts of England, attending conferences and holding indoor
and outdoor meetings. Two of his jaunts, "without purse or scrip," were
with Elder Joseph A. West, through the counties around London. He now made
flying trips to Scotland and France, Elder George C. Parkinson being his
companion upon the latter journey.
They spent a week in the city of Paris, and on June
20, 1883, sailed from Liverpool on the S.S. "Wyoming," landing at New York
Sunday, July 1st, the very day and date of the Bishop's birth, twenty-eight
years before. "Then," says he, "I was from another sphere; now from another
hemisphere." He reached home on the 7th of July. In October he resumed
his former position on the "Deseret News," and his reportorial duties,
with those of the Bishopric, besides lectures and miscellaneous writings,
kept him very busy.
In December, 1884, he severed his connection with
the "News," accepting an appointment by the city council to the office
of city treasurer, to serve the unexpired term of Paul A. Schettler, deceased.
At the next municipal election he was chosen to the same office, and was
regularly re-elected every two years until 1890, when he declined re-nomination.
In the city election of that year the People's ticket was defeated, the
Liberals coming into power. Treasurer Whitney's final report showed upwards
of a quarter of a million dollars in the treasury.
At the opening of the twenty-eighth session of the
Territorial legislature (1888) he was minute clerk of the House of Representatives,
but in the midst of the session, in order to fill a vacancy caused by a
resignation, he was chosen chief clerk of that body. In the summer of the
same year he went with his wife and little daughter Helen on a trip to
Colonia Diaz, Mexico, returning by way of Denver, Colorado, where they
spent a week or more. During the same period that he was treasurer for
Salt Lake City, Bishop Whitney was chancellor of the University of Deseret,
having previously been a regent of that institution.
In November, 1888, he completed his first book, "The
Life of Heber C. Kimball," published by the Kimball family. Its success
was instantaneous and the sale large. His second book, "Poetical Writings,"
appeared in the winter of 1889-90. It is a collection of poems and poetic
prose, written at sundry times since the year 1873, when he began to make
verses. He also prepared, about the year 1889, "Later Leaves from the Life
of Lorenzo Snow," a biography yet remaining in manuscript. An intimate
acquaintance and warm friendship between President Snow and Bishop Whitney
began a short time before the writing of this work, while the former was
a prisoner for conscience sake in the Utah penitentiary, where the latter
visited him and predicted that he would not serve out his sentence: a prediction
that was fulfilled.
During the heat of the crusade, when most of the
leading brethren were in prison or "on the underground," a great deal of
public preaching devolved upon the Bishop, who was the first Elder appointed
to hold a "Mormon" service at the penitentiary. It was about this time
that the town of Whitney, Idaho, was named for him by the people of that
place. In the spring of 1890 he began his most extensive literary work,
the History of Utah, in four large volumes. He was appointed to this work
by Pres. Wilford Woodruff, but was paid
for it by Dr. John O. Williams, of Colorado, the inaugurator of the enterprise,
who subsequently sold the business to Cannon & Sons of Salt Lake City,
by whom the history was published. The work received much commendation,
and was placed in the leading libraries of the land.
In the fall of 1893 he accompanied the First Presidency
and the Tabernacle Choir to the World's Fair, at Chicago, visiting en route
Denver, Kansas City, Independence, and St. Louis. At the Fair he made the presentation
speech accompanying the gift of a cane from the Choir to Director General
In politics he was a member of the People's party
up to the time of its dissolution. He then stood aloof from party affiliation
until the fall of 1894, when he declared himself a Democrat, and by request
of his party leaders became a candidate for delegate to the Constitutional
Convention, the body that was destined to frame for Utah her State Constitution.
During the campaign preceding the election he had his first experience
as a political speaker, addressing meetings in Sanpete and Summit counties,
also in Salt Lake City and Provo. He was elected November 6th, receiving
the highest number of votes cast for any delegate in the fourth precinct.
In the Convention, which met in March, 1895, he served
upon some of the principal committees, and took a leading part in the great
woman suffrage debate, one of the main features of the proceedings. His
speeches in that cause were published in pamphlet form by the Utah Woman
Suffrage Association. His side was victorious, woman suffrage being placed
in the Constitution. He was one of the committee that revised the entire
instrument prior to its transmission to Washington. In January, 1896, he
accepted the chair of philosophy created for him in the Brigham Young College
at Logan, where he resided until July, 1897.
There being no applicants for philosophical studies,
he taught theology and English instead. Prior to accepting this position
he was offered the chair of history in the Agricultural College, also at
Logan, but accepted the other tender, because of his preference for the
atmosphere of a religious institution. His services as an instructor had
also been solicited by the Brigham Young Academy at Provo. He was the recipient
of a gold watch presentation by the members of his Ward, prior to his departure
for the north, and was warmly received at Logan, where he made many friends,
the woman suffragists giving him a public ovation on his arrival there.
With his students he was equally popular. He spent the summer vacation
of 1896 in lecturing, with other professors, through Bear Lake, Box Elder
and Weber counties.
He was appointed one of the regular lecturers at
the Logan Temple, and delivered special lectures at Logan, Salt Lake, Ogden,
Provo and other points. In June of that year he was the guest of honor
at a banquet given by the Sons of the American Revolution at Salt Lake
City, on the anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill, and made a speech
on "The Genius of Americanism," which drew marked attention.
In the fall of 1898 he was elected a State senator,
being chosen from the sixth senatorial district, and took his seat in the
upper house of the legislature in January following. The principal event
of the session was the vain attempt to elect a United States senator, a
consummation thwarted by disunion among the Democratic members of the joint
assembly. In May, 1900, a heavy sorrow befell the Bishop in the death of
his wife, Zina Beal Smoot Whitney, who expired on the 20th of that month,
leaving to his care eight children, four boys and four girls, most of them
of tender years, and the youngest a twin boy and girl a little over one
year old. He was nobly assisted in his trouble by his other wife, May Wells
Whitney, a daughter of Pres. Daniel H. Wells, whom he had married in July,
1888, in the midst of the anti-polygamy crusade; Apostle Moses
Thatcher performing the ceremony. Though having two little boys of
her own, she assumed charge of the motherless children as well, and was
a staff and stay to the entire household. The names of his children in
the order of their births are as follows: Horace Newel, Heber Kimball,
Emily, Helen Mar, Margaret, Charles Byron, Murray Wells, Albert Owen, Wendell
Webb, Paul Van Colt and Virginia Clayton.
Senator Whitney also sat in the legislature of 1901,
and made strong speeches in favor of the Evans Bill, a measure designed,
not for the restoration of plural marriage, as many supposed, but for the
protection of aged polygamists from petty persecution by the methods of
the notorious Charles Mostyn Owen and his ilk. He also supported the McMillan
Bill, abolishing compulsory vaccination. By request of the senate and house
he delivered before the joint assembly a memorial address on the life and
character of his old University tutor, Dr. John R. Park, late Superintendent
of Public Instruction. During the session he went with the legislature
to Boise, where they were the guests of the Idaho law-makers. At the grand
ball given at the Sanitarium in honor of the Utah visitors, he made, by
request, a farewell speech, thanking the State and city officials and the
people of Boise for their kindness and hospitality. The legislative train,
before returning, ran up as far as Huntington, Oregon.
His next trip, taken in March of the same year, was
to the Pacific Coast, in company with his son Horace ("Race") and Mr. Alan
Lovey, both of the Salt Lake Herald staff. After seeing the sights of San
Francisco and its environs, and meeting twice with the Saints of that branch,
he ran down to Monterey and had a last interview with Pres. George Q. Cannon,
who was there in a dying condition. At Pacific Grove, the Bishop and his
son met Harry Culmer, the Utah artist, and took the famous "Seventeen Mile
Drive" in his company and by his courtesy.
In 1899 Bishop Whitney secured regular employment
at the Church Historian's Office, where he succeeded to the labors of Elder
W. Penrose, the latter resuming his former position as editor-in-chief
of the "Deseret News." His duties comprised the keeping of the Church journal,
the answering of correspondence, the writing of special articles for the
press and such other service as may be necessary. In literary work, discourses,
lectures, orations, funeral sermons and miscellaneous addresses, along
with his ecclesiastical labors, his mind, tongue and pen were kept constantly
Bishop Orson F. Whitney had presided over the Eighteenth
Ward for nearly twenty-eight years, and for seven years had served in the
capacity of an assistant to the Church Historian, when, at the General
Conference in April, 1906, he was called to the Apostleship, and became
a member of the Council of the Twelve. It was on the ninth day of April
that he was ordained an Apostle by President Joseph F. Smith, the ordination
taking place in the Salt Lake Temple.
While deeply sensible of the high honor conferred
upon him, he nevertheless felt keenly the separation from the little flock
that had so long sustained him as their shepherd, and when the time came
to part, tears of affection and regret were shed on both sides. At the
farewell testimonial where he and his counselors (Elders Patrick and Barton)
laid down their Ward offices, he entreated his old-time friends and associates
to continue greeting him as "Bishop."
He afterwards said in the hearing of this writer:
"I have never wanted to be called 'Apostle' Whitney; it is exceedingly
distasteful to me; that sacred title should not be used thus commonly.
I have never desired it; but I have expressed, on more than one occasion,
a preference for my old title of 'Bishop,' which I wore so long, and around
which so many happy memories cluster. I recognize, of course, that 'Elder'
is now my proper designation, on all official occasions; but when meeting
socially with old-time friends, or when referred to in a literary connection,
I prefer to be called Bishop'—-for purposes of identification if nothing
more. There are many Elder Whitneys in the Church, and I produced most
of my literary works as Bishop Whitney."
Having severed his connection with the Historian's
Office, he entered zealously upon the discharge of his apostolic duties.
After becoming one of the Twelve, he visited repeatedly all or nearly all
of the Stakes of Zion, then numbering about four-score, preaching at the
quarterly conferences, ordaining Stake and Ward officers, and otherwise
ministering to the people. Where-ever he went, he was warmly welcomed,
and his labors are highly appreciated. He also made extended trips to different
parts of the United States and Canada, and addressed public gatherings
in New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, and
other large cities.
During one of these jaunts, for which he was specially
set apart by the then President of the Twelve, Francis
M. Lyman, he visited scenes memorable for their connection with early
Church history, and described them in a series of entertaining letters,
addressed to Pres. Joseph F. Smith and published in the "Deseret News."
This was in the summer of 1914, the year the great war broke out. Elder
Whitney went first to Independence, Missouri, preaching there on the subject
of "Zion and Her Redemption." Then, in company with others, he visited
the towns of Richmond and Liberty, and the sites of Far West and Haun's
Mill. At Liberty he and his party, which included Pres. Samuel O. Bennion
of the Central States Mission, were permitted to enter the building that
was formerly Liberty jail, where the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church
leaders were imprisoned during the winter of 1838-39, the period that witnessed
the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints from Missouri. The basement of the
building—the former dungeon—remained very much as it was during the Joseph
Smith era, but a modern residence had been erected above it. Elder Whitney
secured, by purchase, a fragment of the old jail door, also two iron bars
of the jail window, and afterwards presented them to President Joseph F.
Smith, with the suggestion that they be placed in the Deseret Museum; a
suggestion acted upon.
With Elder Horace H. Cummings, at that time general
superintendent of the Church schools, he next proceeded to Carthage, Illinois,
where they inspected the old jail, scene of the martyrdom of the Prophet
and Patriarch—a piece of property now owned by the Church and kept up for
the accommodation of tourists. Crossing the Mississippi river to Keokuk,
Iowa, they steamed up the river to Nauvoo, the dead though still beautiful
city that was once the home of the Saints. Elder Whitney went on to Ohio,
where he has relatives, and paid a second visit to the Kirtland Temple,
first seen by him in the year 1877. In the State of New York he visited
for the first time Palmyra, where the original edition of the Book of Mormon
was printed; the Smith Farm, the Sacred Grove (scene of the Prophet's first
vision), the Hill Cumorah, and Niagara Falls.
By way of Toronto and Montreal he made his way to
Lake Champlain, and spent a pleasant week at the island home of his friend,
Dr. Guy Carlton Lee, founder of the National Society for Broader Education,
with which Elder Whitney was connected. The doctor accompanied him to the
Joseph Smith Monument. There Elder Whitney held a service with the Saints,
before journeying on to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington.
Elder Whitney died May 16, 1931 at Salt Lake City,
Utah at the age of 75.