125 years ago today - Sep 17, 1888

[George Q. Cannon] The carriage ... (one of the finest barouches of Grant Bro[ther] s. & Co[mpany].) ... was accepted by Marshal Dyer to carry me to the Penitentiary. ... The conversation on the way out was quite free and unrestrained and I enjoyed the ride. ...

The Marshal showed me through the main building which contains the cells and explained the method of opening and closing them. He spoke about my having my bed in the corridor, which is open and roomy, but thought I had better have a cell in which to keep my things.

He assigned me No. 120 on the end of the row on south and close to the lavatory. I told him and the other officials (including the Warden whom I saw upon his return) that I did not wish them to grant me favors that would embarrass by calling forth attacks from our enemies. I preferred sleeping in my cell, wearing the prison clothing and conforming in other respects to the rules of the prison. I would like the privilege of sending out and receiving manuscript. This the marshal said I could do.

The brethren and the Marshal then left me. ... Bro[ther]. Wilcken brought an iron bedstead and a wire and woolen mattress; but they filled up the cell. By putting the wire mattress on the floor and making the bed on the floor, I did very well. We had supper at 5 p.m.  ...

At 6:30 p.m. all the prisoners, except those engaged in special duties, were required to come in the building. There are three tiers of cells, one above another. Those who are in the two lower tiers are soon locked in their cells; but the upper tier where I am is occupied by "trusties" and our cells are not closed till about 8.45 p.m. The Warden gave me the privilege of keeping my cell door open if I so wished, a privilege which I accepted. Lights are permitted in the cells-candles-as long as the occupants choose I suppose. There is a large lamp burning all night; it throws light in the cells. At nine o clock p.m., at three taps of the bell, all conversation and noise must cease. I forgot to mention that, before the cells are closed of a night, a guard passes in front of all the cells and counts the prisoners, who stand at the door of their cells. There are two occupants to a cell as a rule, and as there are 120 cells, 240 prisoners can be accommodated. The cells are iron, 5 feet by 7 feet, and the front, including the door, is iron latticework. The prisoners sleep on strips of canvass, stretched lengthwise in the cells, one above another and fastened at each end by leather straps. After being slept in, they assume a trough-like form, and are not comfortable the brethren say. A mattress helps the sleeping very much, as it has a tendency to level up the hammock. Brothers A. N. Hill and his son Samuel and Bro[ther]. W. J. Parkin were sentenced to-day and came out to the penitentiary. The first had 50 days and a fine of fifty dollars; the second had 60 days and a fine of [blank] and the third had fifty days and fifty dollars. Quite a contrast between these sentences and those inflicted by Judge [Charles S.]

Zane. When these brethren arrived there were loud yells of "fresh fish" heard all over the yard; this being the mode of salutation with which all new arrivals at the penitentiary are received.

I escaped this reception, a fact that was commented upon by the brethren. My arrival created a sensation among the prisoners, especially among the brethren. they gathered around me and were desirous to know all that had occurred. I made full explanations, and while regret was universally expressed at my being in prison, all felt that I had done right and they believed good results would follow. This is my own desire and hope.

It is two years and six months to the day, since the time I should have appeared in Jude Zane s court and two years and seven months to the day since I was put under $45,000.00 bonds.

[Source: George Q. Cannon, Diary]


  1. Is this the same prison that is located at Draper, Utah today?

  2. I believe it was in Sugar House.

  3. It was indeed.


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